Pachouli, dread locks and colorful inflated planets hanging from the ceiling decorated Headliner’sMusic Hall in Louisville Tuesday night as Mickey Hart Band and his band of all-star musicians graced the stage to debut, Mysterum Tremedum. When Mickey Hart said “we are about to embark on a long musical ride tonight” to the lively middle-aged crowd while jumping up and down in his white drumming gloves, he was not joking.
The stage show is something of a space opera, infusing layers of world percussion mixed with lead guitars and superimposed tribal vocals while the mastermind, Hart, plays with a Theremin and the infamous “beam” he helped make famous during his touring days with the Grateful Dead. The idea of using technology to covert light samples from universal events such as the Big Bang into sound waves may sound a touch far-fetched to the average music listener. The Mickey Hart Band, decked with Dave Schools of Widespread Panic on bass; front vocalist, Crystal Monee Hall and Tim Hockenberry, brilliantly deliver the concept. Band member, Ben Yonas, who plays the infamous RAMU instrument, a hybrid of an archaic meets futuristic percussion instrument/computer device invented by Hart, is the group’s dark, hidden secret helping to hold loops together so that fellow musicians can create ostinato patterns in sync on top.
Two sets later, the mind and body are entranced with a spiritual, musical journey mixed with modernized renditions of older Grateful Dead tunes such as Fire on the Mountain, which Hart himself helped pen. Plenty of new drum escapades filled Headliners with intricate sticking patterns and sounds not yet experienced in modern day time until Mysterum Tremedum’s release. From the opening song, Cut the Deck which segued live into Bertha to the second set’s encore offering, Papa Was a Rolling Stone, the dancing crowd happily embraced every song beneath the aligned planets. The Mickey Hart Band stage show is completely a forward-thinking musical dream and from a technological standpoint, simply brilliant; a definite must see to anyone wanting to journey into an out of this world experience.
photo courtesy Mickey Hart