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Published: 2003/02/24
by Margot Main

Maktub/Yo Flaco!, Tongue and Groove, San Francisco- 2/15

While the Northeast bundled up for a blizzard and Phish lit up Las Vegas, on
Saturday, February 15, the Tongue and Groove in San Francisco welcomed the
Bay Area's Spring-like night with crisp beats of Yo Flaco! and the
cool-n-sweet soul sounds of Maktub.

Yo Flaco! is an eight piece band that mixes standard hip hop with steady
dance rhythm; accentuated with horns and infused with jazz flavored melody
lines. Emcee's Doug Lipford and Neil McIntyre led the party by interfacing
fans with their quick rhymes rooted in realism. Bass player Wes Coplen and
drummer Loren Comfort downloaded steady danceable pleasures to the crowd
while the rest of the band burned new beats for people's feet. Brandon
Martin's guitar seemed to be the electric track that Matt Piazza's keys
followed as the music found its way from the stage to the small dance floor. Truly innovative was the horn section of Ethan Raczka on saxophone and
Adam Bartczak on trombone. They added a jazz layer that twisted its way
through the rhythm and the rhymes in something other than 4/4 time. Most
audacious was Bartczak's work on a Conch Shell he played as a sort of beach
beat box.

Then, the night moved to a parallel universe.

Maktub (pronounced mock-tube) are five guys who create a luscious sound.
Just as Al Green modernized Otis Redding's vibe; Maktub modifies Al Green's
groove for the 21st century and makes it their own. Reggie Watts
illustrated the band's soulful warmth as the tightly packed crowd was
immediately hugged with his embracing smile. The collective whole of Kevin
Goldman's bass, Daniel Spils' keys, Thaddeas Turner's electric guitar and
Davis Martin's drums launched into a familiar upbeat tempo that made it easy
for people to move to.

The "dub"-esque spirit of Goldman and Martin gently slipped itself around
hipsters while Jamiroquai styled electricity between Spils and Turner made
the band's notes shoot sparks off the stage onto sweaty bodies. Watts'
custom "Regg-a-phone" (an amplified 1950's era style telephone) added a
surreal dimension and also helped to dig deeper into the groove. For
example, when it was used for the chorus of "Give Me Some Time" (from their
CD, Khronos) the unique phone added lyrical depth as the song went from
levels best described as piquant Sade to nasty Nirvana. The band's talent
to climb aural heights by sound-shifting during a single song was an
amplification of the vocal range of Watts who demonstrated it throughout the
night. He did this not just by singing the songs but also by soul scatting
call and response with the crowd.

Because San Francisco has a militant 2:00 a.m. bar curfew, unfortunately,
the band couldn't get more time to drop kick the backbeat and feed the
musical rage they started with their large cover of Plant and Page's "No
Quarter." Maktub is groove tested and Soulive approved.

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