Mickey Hart Band | Lake Tahoe | Review

Words by: Brennan Lagasse | Images by: Bud Fulginiti

Mickey Hart Band :: 01.21.12 :: Crystal Bay Club :: Lake Tahoe, NV

Mickey Hart :: Arts Quest in Bethlehem, PA :: by Bud Fulginiti
This winter season has been an unusual one in Lake Tahoe. Below average snowfall has made for a few unhappy campers in a place usually overflowing with positive energy. As luck would have it Saturday, January 21st was the first day of 2012 with enough fresh snow for locals and visitors to bask in a long awaited and celebrated “Powder Day”. This new snowfall also happened to coincide with a visit from the Mickey Hart Band (MHB) who made a stop at the Crystal Bay Club (CBC) on Tahoe’s North Shore. Perhaps it was a sign from the cosmos.

The MHB has seen several different lineups over the years. The most current incarnation of the group has been “chosen for a certain kind of mission” according the Rhythm Devil Mickey Hart himself. Hart has been locked in space for quite some time. Any Deadhead will tell you that, but with this project, Hart’s seriously been tapping space, as in from the solar system - not the abstract sounds commonly heard at Grateful Dead shows of years past - as a way to generate new music.

MHB :: Arts Quest in Bethlehem, PA :: by Bud Fulginiti
Technically, Hart has been engulfed in a rich study on the sonification of the universe, which has helped create the music that the MHB plans to record and release sometime this April. He’s worked with several scientists on this front to better understand the sounds of the galaxy, and with his band members has created a new quiver of music that many who attended the show at the CBC were hearing for the first time.

Truth be told, a great deal of the pre-show chatter pointed concert goers to the notion that they were about to take in a show that would probably be one long set of space and/or drums and space. In reality what ended up happening was a slew of Tahoe Deadheads came out to party with the MHB, with most more than pleasantly surprised by a just a few old Grateful Dead tunes sprinkled amongst two sets of newly composed originals.

Mickey Hart Band :: Arts Quest in Bethlehem, PA :: by Bud Fulginiti
Hart was recently quoted as saying, “It’s a combination of universal and global music,” which to the attendee feels and sounds very much spot on. There are three drummers in the band beyond the two primary vocalists, keyboards, guitar and bass. Crystal Hall has a beautiful voice, and also lent a hand on acoustic guitar during the evening. Her take on “Brokedown Palace” was a fresh and welcome one, as were her soaring vocal leads throughout the evening. It was unfortunate that bassist Dave Schools from Widespread Panic was unable to be there for the evening, but as a band the music sounded as cohesive as a relatively new band could possibly be. Even though those familiar with Schools’ trademark playing know what a force he can be in any band, the MHB played as a whole, with Hart clearly fired up, enjoying the energy of the snow-inspired crowd, with the music and dancing growing stronger song-by-song over the course of the evening.

Inx Herman lays down the base beat and is accompanied by world renown talking drummer Sikuru Adepoju, who’s been a fixture in many of Hart’s bands over the years. Mickey is then left to bring the spacey sounds and other worldly beats he was so well known for with the Grateful Dead. A solid bit of old favorites anchored with a host of new universally inspired songs is what you should expect to hear as this danceable trip lead by the space man himself gets ready for a solid tour this March into April. If you like the Grateful Dead, what Mickey brought to the band, and are into hearing some new music inspired by the rhythms of space played by a very solid band of quality musicians, then make sure when the MHB bus comes by you get on. The improvisational ride will be a welcome, unique experience, and you’ll be happy to have jumped on board.

Mickey Hart Band Tour Dates :: Mickey Hart Band News

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[Published on: 2/1/12]

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