So what’s new with Lake Tahoe native Robbie Gallo and his band Vokab Kompany?
Not much other than touring with a band member from the Rolling Stones, collaborating with a company that brews beer in outer space and the production of a new full-length concept album. And, oh yeah, the band opened Saturday’s Lake Tahoe Reggae Festival, the first-ever outdoor show at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe.
After its last Tahoe show, Vokab Kompany’s second straight Snowglobe appearance on New Years eve, the guys hopped about a play to play in a 14-date Run DMC Remix tour with Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe and several high-profile guests along the way. Denson last year joined the Stones as the band’s saxophone player.
“Learning the lyrics from D.M.C. was kind of like learning the script of a movie,” said Gallo, aka Rob Hurt, a 1998 South Tahoe High School graduate who started Vokab Kompany several years ago in San Diego with fellow MC and vocalist Matt Burke, aka Burkey Baby.
An homage to the groundbreaking hip-hop group was appropriate for Gallo, who said the first records his mother bought for him were the self-titled “Run-D.M.C.” and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”
Vokab Kompany more than anything is a hip-hop group, but there are many different styles to the sound.
“We like so many kinds of music we didn’t just want to be a hip-hop band,” Gallo said. “We just are trying out what we like. … You do get invited to a lot of festivals because you cover all bases.”
Such as the Lake Tahoe Reggae Festival, which will be headlined by Iration, a surf-reggae group, and Matisyahu, a Hasidic reggae rapper.
And it seems only natural to pair a hip-hop group with a company that brews hops. Vokab Kompany wrote a couple of songs for Ninkasi Brewing and played as some of its launch parties.
Ninkasa features space traveled yeast for its Dawn of the Red IPA and Ground Control Stout beers.
“They launched into space from Black Rock City out in the desert where they have Burning Man,” Gallo said. “The first one didn’t make it to the right sphere. It got stuck in orbit and it came back down somewhere that they didn’t find. They did it again and they launched this yeast into space and created this beer and asked us to play the launch parties. The relationship did pretty well so they wanted to help us with this new record.”
The record has a name, “The Good Kompany Album,” and a single, “Kaleidoscope” produced by JPOD, but no label. The goal is a late-summer release.
“We are letting labels listen to it before anybody hears it because I guess it’s a secret right now,” Gallo said. “That increases chance of getting labels’ interest because they have a chance at something brand new. I can’t really say who, but we have some interest, so we have held out on putting out any more songs.”
The concepts for the songs came from Gallo and Burke and they were put together by “spaceship” operator Geoff “the Wizard” Nigl.”
The other band members are Tyler Olson (drums), Vikingo Burkhiser (bass) and Richard Galiguis (guitar).
A Vokab Kompany song is featured on Tahoe South’s commercial played throughout the California encouraging people to visit Lake Tahoe.
Gallo’s mother and brother live at South Shore.
The new venue is named the Hard Rock Outdoor Arena and it has a capacity of 7,500, according to Paul Reder, the president of PR Entertainment, which will present at least four outdoor shows at the venue this summer.
- Lake Tahoe Reggae Festival
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe
Saturday, June 27
12:15-1 p.m. – Vokab Kompany
2:25-3:55 – Fortunate Youth
3:55-4:30 – the Green
4:20-5:15 – the Expendables
5:45-6:40 –Don Carlos Reggae
7:10-8:25 – Matisyahu
9-10:30 – Iration
DJ/Host Squarefield Massive
Emcee: Jras Soulifted
Advanced tickets $45 GA, $90 VIP $10 kids 12 and under, children under 6 are free.