Written by Steven Butera
There are many different types of restaurants in Patchogue. They range from American to Asian to Hispanic cuisine. But there is certainly none like Bobbique; An authentic “pit” style barbeque restaurant, owned and operated by Johnson & Wales University Fellowship award winner Eric Rifkin. Bobbique is known for its appreciation and service of the 3 B’s; Beer, Bourbon and Blues. For 10 years Bobbique has regularly hosted a wide variety of local musicians and on May 25th 2016, it was home to the third Rock the Patch tournament designed to allow upcoming musicians a chance to play on the Blue Point Brewery main stage during Alive After Five.
The restaurant’s stage is sunken into an area decorated with posters of Jimmy Hendricks and other famous blues musicians, with enough room to accommodate an $8,000 drum kit supplied by the Suffolk Recording Studio and all the equipment any band would ever need. And although the biggest band that played that night consisted of 5 members. It could probably fit a few more, without looking like a subway car during peak hours.
The night started around 8 pm and the restaurant was half filled with patrons that had no idea what was about to take place. Summer had just begun, finally, and hit Patchogue with a heavy ungoverned intensity and the normal Patchogue crowds took to the streets trying to escape from the heat. In an attempt to bring some order to the overwhelming response to Alive After Five band applications, The Village of Patchogue, decided to hold a Battle of the Bands. With 5 nights, 4 bands each night, and 3 different judges judging the events, it seemed like a very diplomatic way to approach this problem.
Judging the event was Dan Molloy, from the Suffolk Recording Studio, a young producer with a thick beard. Vic Glassboro, an event manager hosting several events at Bobbique, whom is also well experienced in knowing the business side of music. And another producer named Ron, whose worked with Sam Taylor’s survived daughter and grandson. Each of these Judges brought something to the table, whether it be direct music experience or working with top named musicians, and all of them were fair. They all had valid objective points of view during the show and when it came to the final decision, they echoed the fairness everyone has come to expect from Patchogue.
The first band to play was named A’mericana. It was the first show that this newly formed band had played together, and in the shadow of their newly completed album with the same name they played well. Headed by Brian Gabriel, whom solely wrote the album with the intention of describing his life story under the 432hz resonance structure of schumann, the band made an impression.
The next band Kitari, was scheduled to play second but because of traffic had to give up their turn to Mike Meehan & The Lucky Ones. Their sound was unique, filled with southern vibes and deep raspy vocals. If country had a cousin he’d be one of the lucky ones. Kitari, came on right after and entertained bobbique with rock influenced pop songs. As for the members, they all had a great sense of humor, talking about how the guitarist has weight issues but he was far from over weight and made jokes about how their drummer was late.
Lastly, A Band In Ship played their set. They have already established themselves in the community by playing in a band called Still Current, but their desire to experiment more with their sounds forced them to create A Band In Ship. As there set went on it was clear that they were the favorites of the bar. Many of the customers had come just to support the band, and it showed.
But in the end, it is always up to the judges and judging is not easy. “There is always going to be only one winner and in this case 3 bands left without anything”, said David Kennedy, Director of the Patchogue Chamber of Commerce and acting MC for the night. And he is absolutely right. So when it came down to the decision, the Judges went with the band they felt would attract the biggest crowds, had the most original sound and the best chance to move onto the next round and win. To them that was A’mericana. And Brian Gabriel, was excited, especially because he wrote the album by himself and threw this band together hoping to win this competition. Now they’re on to the next round at 89 North on June 2nd 2016 versus The Ghost & The Crowd, Pamela Betti Band, and the Lazy Bunny Ukulele Band. We all hope to see some new faces there and of course the ones we’re already familiar with. And don’t forget to attend Alive After Five starting July 7th 2016.