Vokab Kompany brings the hip-hop

By Priya Hutner · 


Aug. 28
9 p.m. | Doors open at 8
Crystal Bay Casino | Crystal Bay, Nev.

Robbie “Rob Hurt” Gallo and Matt “Burkey Baby” Burke of Vokab Kompany are bringing their unique vibes to Tahoe to benefit The High Fives Foundation on Aug. 28. The organization supports the dreams of mountain action sports athletes by raising injury prevention awareness while providing resources and inspiration to those who suffer life-altering injuries. The #FUNFIRST party sponsored by bigtruck will be hosted at the Crystal Bay Club.

Luka Starmer, outreach coordinator of High Fives Foundation, explained that Big Truck sponsors a benefit for the organization in the winter at Squaw Valley and #FUNFIRST Party is the summer event they are throwing.

“We’ve provided 89 athletes with grants toward their recovery goals,” said Starmer.

Roy Tuscany, executive director and founder of High Fives, was injured in a skiing accident and was told that he’d never be able to walk, let alone ski again; years later he’s doing both. He says that he received enormous outreach and support from the Tahoe community and Sugar Bowl Academy where he coached, to help with his recovery. This inspired him to create the foundation and give back to others.

“Galen Gifford, founder of Big Truck and chairman our board, had a relationship with Vokab Kompany. When I heard their music four years ago I knew I wanted to host an event with them,” Tuscany said, “The stars aligned. The Crystal Bay Casino offered their space and then this past April, I met Rob Gallo and Burke in Vail while they were on tour with Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe.”

It was there they plotted and planned the upcoming benefit in Tahoe.

Vokab Kompany’s ties are deeply connected to Tahoe, Gallo is a local boy who graduated from South Shore High and Burke is from Reno. They met in Tahoe and collaborated on a few songs, “We loved our vibe and connection that we decided to create a band,” Gallo explains. Both men are vocalists and sing live with a full band behind them.

The name of the band is based on word vocabulary; both excelled in English.

“We wanted to bring more substance to our music,” Gallo explained. “Kompany because we envisioned growing musically and we wanted to keep the element of the ‘company we keep.’ We have a large group of friends we keep in touch with throughout California.” Based in San Diego, Vokab Kompany’s musical roots is primarily hip-hop, but their music crosses many genre boundaries.

Gallo attributes his love of music to growing up with his father listened to R&B and Disco while his mother loved classic rock and singer-songwriter tunes.

“Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ was the first record I owned. I am a huge fan of hip-hop. I listened to a lot of Run DMC, LL Cool J, Fat Boys and Dr. Dre. I have a big appetite for music, each Christmas my mother would put a tape of some kind of music in my stocking, Counting Crows or the latest rap tape,” Gallo said.

Vokab Company performed a Run DMC tribute that lead to a 15-show tour with Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe.

“We had two weeks to learn all the words to the Run DMC’s ‘Raising Hell’ album. We practiced every day and nailed it,” explained Gallo.

Geoff Nigle, the keyboardist for the band, travels with two keyboards and operates a computer to create live samples and effects they call his area the space station. Also in the band is guitarist Richard Galigius, drummer Tyler Olson and Vikingo “Viking” Burkhiser on bass.

“The band does cross genres. Viking likes it super funky, Tyler leans toward hip-hop and jazz, while Jeff, who teaches piano, is a fan of electronica and classical, this not only lends the band toward their hip-hop leaning but adds the funk, soul and electronic element,” says Gallo.

They are currently finishing up their fifth album, “The Good Kompany,” scheduled to be released this the fall. The single “Kaleidoscope” is currently available online.

“We never know what to expect when we perform, each show is always different. We’ll definitely be bringing a high energy, fun and funky show,” Gallo said about the upcoming Tahoe show.


For more information and to purchase tickets, visit devildogshows.com.