The Berks-Mont News (http://www.berksmontnews.com)

MUSIC: Flobots at Coda in Philly, 3 things to know


By Gary Graff, ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com,, @GraffonMusic on Twitter

Monday, January 15, 2018

Its latest album is called “Noenemies,” and Denver’s Flobots has certainly won plenty of friends over the course of four albums during the past 11 years.

The trio has also managed to provoke, both with its hip-hop flavored brand of rock and populist lyricism that on “Noenemies,” which was released last year, was both political and prescient of current events. Flobots funded the set via Kickstarter, while a Rise + Shine Tour is bringing its messages to the masses — or at least whoever shows up to see the group’s high-powered live shows...

• After spending much of the five years between its last two albums engaged in activism, the topical focus of “Noenemies” was inevitable. “We were part of climate marches, black lives matter marches, immigration marches, movements near and dear to our hearts,” the group’s Jamie “Jonny 5” Laurie, 40, says by phone. “So we were in the thick of those feeling and experiences when we wrote the album, and then of course the election happened and suddenly the whole country was immersed in that same set of dynamics. Suddenly the same issue we were wresting with became issues the whole country was wrestling with.”

• On stage, however, Laurie says Flobots are trying to preach unity — or at least civility during polarized time. “We’re using the shows to say, ‘Let’s really remember what it feels like to be human again and in a community with other people.’ That’s our job at every show, and we take it very seriously,” Laurie explains. “Your enemy doesn’t have to be destroyed, you know? It’s worth remembering how flawed all of us are, and in any family the thing you can count on is you’re always going to be in some way, whether you like it or not, connected. You can work on improving relationships, improving who you are. If there’s a message, that’s what we’re trying to put out at the shows. More than anything we want our concerts to be a place where people can feel reinspired, reinvigorated.”

• Flobots plans to be on the road into the new year and to “find ways to get out to places we haven’t hit yet,” according to Laurie. The group is also starting to think about what it wants to do next. “We’re always creating, and it’s interesting to engage in the YouTube sphere as a way to speak out to younger folks,” Laurie says. “So we’ll see. We’ll go out on this tour and plot our next moves and things like that. We just did a bilingual Japanese-English rap to put out there, and there are some conversations going on about collaborations with other artists, but nothing quite solid enough to talk about yet.”