Stephen Brackett's intuition was unbelievably strong when it came to Jamie Laurie, anyway. On his first day at Bradley Elementary, the wide-eyed fourth-grader took one look at the fifth-grader across the schoolyard and whispered to his father, "Hey, Dad, that guy's going to be my friend."
"And then," Brackett says, looking over at Laurie, "you introduced yourself to me, didn't you?"
"Uh," Laurie demurs, "that part I don't remember."
"Ha, ha!" says Brackett, laughing. "That's where the story breaks down. Whew! Cue the sappy violins."
Clearly, Laurie, aka Jonny 5, isn't as sentimental about their first encounter. Nonetheless, his friendship with Brackett, who performs alongside him under the name Brer Rabbit, is the foundation on which Flobots built their insurgent hip-hop crew. Beneath the passionate words calling for social change, railing against injustice and decrying the current war effort, there's a kinship and a deep, sincere mutual admiration.
"The music that we make is pretty weighted with messages," Brackett declares. "And it wouldn't be effective if it was just Jamie's vision and the rest of us were just like session guys. That's another thing that's really helped us we have people that we already knew, so we could trust each other to make the music, and in that way, like, we've sort of become the musicians that we needed to be to do what we wanted."
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Fri., April 25, 9 p.m., 2008