“Space>Drums>Darkstar>Heaven’s Gonna Burn Your Eyes”
July 10, 2015 -18th All Good Music Festival
Video By Brian Lu (Toolbox DC)
Ever since The Music Never Stopped show on July 2nd in Chicago, Thievery Corporation has been throwing some Grateful Dead covers into their repertoire. The night after the Aragon Ballroom shows, the band headed to the Belly Up in Aspen where they busted out a “Fire on the Mountain” cover with Ras Puma on vocals.
At All Good Festival the thieves decided to continue revisiting some of the songs they learned with a segued packed sandwich of “Space>Drums>Darkstar>Heaven’s Gonna Burn Your Eyes”. The pairing of Space>Drums is actually very fitting for Thievery. Eric Hilton and Rob Garza united over a shared passion for world music.
The ambient,yet eventful, “Space>Drums” is a great fit for drummer Jeff Franca (aka Congo Sanchez) of Thievery. Franca plays what many would consider a to be a “stripped down” drum kit. Franca’s drumming techniques adapt with any band he is in. For example, in Congo Sanchez you’ll find Franca standing up playing a basic drum kit while simultaneously DJing alongside the stage with MC Flex Mathews and vocalist Haile Supreme. In the context of Thievery, Franca does a commendable job of playing alongside one or two DJs (depending on the show) and a full band, a feat that requires intense listening and well calculated decisions. This rendition of “Drums” gives Franca a chance to showcase his talents in a light that isn’t seen every Thievery show. The live Thievery show can be overwhelming, in a very good way, with all of the vocal talent that rotates songs. Adding “Space>Jam”, which has no lyrics, is a nice way to keep things constantly changing in their live performance.
Watching Natalia offer her vocal talents to the Dead classic “Dark Star” is simply amazing. “Dark Star” an exploratory tune for the Dead, the clear emphasis being on the actual improvisational portion of the track. I’ve really enjoyed seeing Thievery lend their vocal talents to the Grateful Dead catalog over the past month. Having Clavier on-stage to breathe life into the vocal passages of a Dead classic really livens up the tune. Furthermore, it creates an individual identity of the cover. This isn’t a Dead cover band covering The Dead. This is Thievery Corporation’s take on a catalog. As I noted in my review of Chicago, these are the types of things Thievery does that have led them to be successful in their career, being unique. To seal the transition the band moved back into a classic staple from the archives, “Heaven’s Gonna Burn Your Eyes”, off The Richest Man In Babylon, the band’s third studio album which was released in 2002 on Eighteenth Street Lounge Music.
I hope they continue the occasional Dead tune bust-out for some time to come. The video done by DC local, Brian Liu, watch the video here.