COURTESY GORGEOUS PR
The Animal Liberation Orchestra, is, from left, Dave Brogan, Zach Gill, Dan Lebowitz and Steve Adams. The group will join the lineup at the Kokua Festival Saturday.
ALO unleashes hot licks
The Animal Liberation Orchestra plans to roar at the Kokua Fest
It's the job of drummer Dave Brogan and the Animal Liberation Orchestra to do just that -- "liberate" the bodies of fellow humans to move with their neo-hippie vibe.
ALO will be part of the third-annual Kokua Festival, put on by college buddy Jack Johnson every year to benefit the environmental foundation Johnson runs with his wife.
The band's new album, "Fly Between Falls," was a small independent release some months ago, but when Johnson added ALO to his Brushfire Records label, not only did the album pick up wider distribution, but it's been reworked a bit as well.
Johnson lends backing vocals on a new version of the album's single "Girl, I Wanna Lay You Down," and Brogan sings on the added track and concert favorite "Walls of Jericho."
Saturday will be ALO's first time on the big concert stage here, although the band has played club gigs at Wave Waikiki, Boardriders and Haleiwa Joe's. Group member Zach Gill should already be familiar to Johnson audiences, as he's guested with J.J. and the band on tour. (The group is rounded out by Dan Lebowitz and Steve Adams.)
Back to the album, it kicks off with Gill adding a bit of ukulele on "Spectrum," which has a West African highlife lilt. "Fly Between Falls" goes into high gear halfway through with a quartet of jam tunes, "Pobrecito," the prog-rock influenced "Shapeshifter," the spacy funk of "The Gardener" and the bluegrass-turned-cosmic celebration of the birth of Gill's daughter, "Waiting for Jaden."
"Yeah, this new one's a definite change from the last album," Brogan said by phone from his San Francisco home before he and the band left for some Japan dates. "It has kind of a dance, disco-funk feel, straightahead grooves, and a little more variation."
He said the band just shot a video for "Girl, I Wanna Lay You Down" on Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro, while on tour with Johnson. "When we started playing, people started congregating, to the point where we had about 100 people dancing around us."
ASKED about ALO's tag as a jam band, Brogan said, "That's fair. Like a lot of different bands, we definitely like to extend our solos and make intricate arrangements. Our style of jamming is a little more akin to the way a lot of rock music in the '70s was done. We're not that different from other acts like Led Zeppelin, the Allman Brothers Band and Peter Frampton."
This is Brogan's second stint with ALO behind the drum kit. "We all had similar music studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara, where we met Jack. I have a classical musical education and was always into jazz bands. My interest in music started really in college, playing drums and writing my own music."
But Brogan left the band to live and work in Seattle during the dot-com boom. But when "our company was bought out by Microsoft, and my job was coming to an end, I called Dan. They had just come off a hard tour in 2002 and they were looking for a drummer. Sure enough, a couple of months later, I was back with the band and since then we've been hard at this for the last four years."