Life of the party
Yo, Flaco! comes to Steamboat ... sans Omnibot 2000
Brandon Martin, guitarist for the band Yo, Flaco!, took his Omnibot 2000 robot with him on the band’s last tour.
“It was my toy robot when I was a kid. It was the coolest thing ever – so high tech in a low-tech way. It was the vision of the future in 1985,” Martin said. “I used to program it to serve my parents drinks at their dinner parties.”
Yo, Flaco! is now serving up its own blend of hip-hop with two emcees and a six-piece band whose members were trained as jazz musicians. Martin said there are many similarities between jazz and hip-hop.
“They both incorporate the elements of soul,” he said.
The six-piece band and its diverse lyrics set Yo, Flaco! apart from traditional hip-hop groups.
“No one is coming across with any strong attitude,” Martin said. “And we haven’t had any of the music interludes, like the voicemail recording, which is standard.”
The Yo, Flaco! shows this weekend will no doubt be different – the band members rely on improvisation, and they often ask for topic suggestions from the crowd.
“Someone always says ‘weed,’ but we won’t even do that because it’s not a challenge anymore. They also say ‘President Bush,’ and from there you never know what you’ll get,” Martin said. “Someone once suggested genital warts, and it was one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard. I remember just dying.”
Yo, Flaco! is still unsigned because its members say they are waiting for the right record deal.
“They can be helpful or can ruin your career,” Martin said. “I’ve heard stories about artists where their recording gets shelved and they have no rights.”
In 2002, the band was nominated for an American Music Award, but it turned out to be a Hollywood nightmare.
“It was so plastic, and every artist was lip-singing. Kid Rock was performing with monster trucks, confederate flags and strippers in cages on stage,” Martin said. “The whole thing was so ridiculous and was the perfect metaphor for that entire experience. It didn’t seem to be about music. It was about fashion and being seen.”
Yo, Flaco! is the real deal, but Martin has never learned to beat box.
“I don’t even try – actually I do – but I don’t try in public,” he said. “If I knew how, though, I could be the life of the party.”
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