Fusion jam band Flow Tribe to play Green Bar tonightBy Katie Huff | 03/01/2018 12:25pm
UA students flocked to the streets of New Orleans following the Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Jan. 1. The celebration continued following the National Championship game on Jan. 8 in Atlanta. K.C. O’Rorke, briefly a UA student and member of New Orleanian genre-fused band Flow Tribe, felt the excitement of the victory himself, and recalls it again as he returns to Tuscaloosa to perform at Green Bar tonight, Thursday, March 1.
“I went to Alabama, so I was pretty stoked that Alabama won again this year,” O’Rorke said. “Beautiful game. Roll Tide. I just wanted to tell people that I’m grateful for the crazy memories that I had. I went there from 2004 to 2006. Didn’t graduate, but put in a valiant, valiant effort. I love Alabama, my heart loves Alabama and the band loves Alabama, so hopefully people come see us Thursday. There will be a lot of 'Roll Tide,' a lot of praising of Saban.”
Flow Tribe will play at Green Bar following the release of “Boss,” the six-member band’s most recent album, released in April 2017. “Boss” is a 10-track album that demonstrates the band’s ability to weave through a variety of genres while making wholeheartedly enjoyable music that induces dancing.
The first single from “Boss,” “You Know What It’s About,” resulted in an exciting venture for Flow Tribe: working with Mannie Fresh on the album. Fresh is a New Orleanian rapper, DJ and producer. From 1993 to 2005, Fresh served as the in-house producer for New Orleans-based Cash Money Records, working with Lil Wayne, Hot Boys and Juvenile, and formed Big Tymers, a hip-hop duo, with Cash Money Records’ co-founder, Bryan “Birdman” Williams. After collaborating with Flow Tribe on the single, Fresh came on as producer for “Boss.”
“Working with Mannie was cool because we got to approach things differently,” O’Rorke said. “Whereas for our band, most of the time, everyone is doing everything at once, and with Mannie we broke everything down into sections. Like, how do we just put the best foot forward and just break everything down to almost the molecular level, scramble it up and see what happens. I think it made us conscious of what we’re doing onstage, and maybe we can do less or do more, highlight different parts.”
Collaboration with local New Orleans music icons is not a new occurrence for Flow Tribe. In 2015, Allen Toussaint, a New Orleanian R&B songwriting legend, sat in with the band at live music hotspot Tipitina’s. A year later, the band was joined by Irma Thomas, an iconic soul singer from New Orleans, for a cover of “Proud Mary.”
“I think there’s just an openness on the part of New Orleans musicians,” O’Rorke said. “I think we see ourselves as part of the same big family of New Orleans musicians. [Fresh is] a hero for us, growing up with all the Cash Money stuff, so it speaks a lot to the love of music and the thing that connects us through our generations, you know; he’s a little bit older than us, but it’s that ability or willingness to get in there, mix it up and see what happens. It’s kind of what New Orleans is all about. There’s not a lot of barriers to creativity. People just want to see if you added this, if you added that, what kind of funky gumbo you’re going to come out with.”
The band’s vast instrumental capabilities allow for another kind of gumbo, creating a variety of genres. O’Rorke acts as vocalist and trumpeter; John-Michael Early plays harmonica, washboard, keyboard and vocals; Russell Olschner plays drums; Chad Penot plays bass and provides vocals; Bryan Santos plays guitar and timbales; and Mario Palmisano plays guitar.
Flow Tribe thrives in coordination with a live audience, bringing enthusiastic and diverse performances each night, which allows for returning fans and newcomers to partake in a brand new atmosphere. Tonight, the New Orleanian band will fill Green Bar with high-spirited performance and even more exuberant music.
“Our group has been around for ten years, so we know we’re comfortable with each other, and we look forward to it,” O’Rorke said. “This is what we do. This is our only task. This is our thing, so we know what to expect from each other, and we know if we can have a good time on stage that people will have a good time in the audience.”
The band will play at 10 p.m. for a 21-and-up audience, and tickets are $10.