Sample Track 1: "Money" from Easy Star All-Stars, Dub Side of the Moon (Easy Star Records)
Sample Track 2: "Us and Them" from Easy Star All-Stars, Dub Side of the Moon (Easy Star Records)
Echoes and Reverb of Pink Floyd: Easy Star All-Stars Release Dub Side of the Moon Live DVD
“It would be so easy to botch a project like this given the virtually iconic nature of the material,” wrote Billboard magazine about the Easy Star All-Stars’ 2003 sneak hit Dub Side of the Moon, an ambitious reinvention of Pink Floyd’s classic DarkSide Of The Moon album. But the band and producers “clearly appreciated the neo-psychedelia of Dark Side and did a superb job of capturing that feel in translating the music to reggae,” continues the review. Three years later—while the album continues to register on the BillboardReggae Catalog Chart—Easy Star is set to release their concert DVD, Dub Side of the Moon Live, on June 27, 2006.
While critics (and Pink Floyd fans) reached a consensus that the Easy Star All-Stars nailed the spirit of Floyd’s classic original in a reggae version on the Dub Side CD, the release of the live concert DVD gives audiences a window into the band behind the music and brings in new elements showing they have made this revitalized repertoire their own.
The reinterpreted Dub Side mythology is carried on with the appearance of the Rasta-naut, a Rasta astronaut orbiting the moon in original animated sequences that punctuate the DVD’s footage (which was shot in September of last year). The DVD captures visual elements that were lauded by critics who have seen the live show: “The multiple aesthetic streams continually shift one’s focus in brain-tickling and body-rocking ways—the live grooves rewinding and fast-forwarding with the mnemonic original sounds,” as L.A. Weekly’s Tom Cheyney put it.
Just as the Dub Side CD was arranged to approximate running times of Dark Side (even to the point of synching with The Wizard of Oz), the live production runs like a seamless, theatrical performance augmented by such elaborate lighting effects and video projections that Vibe magazine might have to revisit their CD review that “All that's missing here are some tickets to the Laserium.” The live setting of the DVD also allows the players to spread out with improvised solos, spontaneous dance moves, and the synergy that only comes from live performance with an engaged audience. The interplay of musicians, lights, and reverb encircle the live and DVD-viewing audience in a hallucinogenic reality reminiscent of a prior smoke-laden, psychedelic era. (This evocative spirit has found many a parent connecting with their bleary-eyed teenage offspring since the release of the Dub Side CD.)
No music DVD is complete without the extras, and Dub Side comes through with interviews of the album’s producers, players, and fans; pre-show backstage and street footage; a making of the Dub Side album featurette; a photo gallery; and the back stories on the Easy Star All-Stars and Easy Star Records. Viewers can choose between watching on a wide screen or letterbox, and between 5.1 Dolby Surround, 5.1 DTS, and 2.0 Dolby Digital Audio Mixes. The video was produced by Grata Video, who has produced video for Andrew W.K., DEVO, and the Dwarves.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, June 8, the Easy Star All-Stars will make their first New York City appearance in over a year. While it’s been a busy stretch for the band—including tours of France, Italy, England, Brazil, Argentina, Croatia, the West Coast, Mid-Atlantic, Colorado, Texas, Louisiana—the popular reggae collective has not had a chance to strut their stuff on stage in front of the New York massive. That chance arrives thanks to an appearance at the twelve-year old Brooklyn Academy of Music Rhythm and Blues Festival. The BAM R&B Festival presents free concerts on Thursdays between and at MetrotechPlaza in Downtown Brooklyn, two blocks from the Brooklyn and ManhattanBridges near the East River.
Whether you catch them live or on their first-ever video, step onto the Rasta-naut’s space ship and join the Easy Star All-Stars for a trip to the Dub Side of the MoonLive. The live DVD hits the streets on June 27th or fans can pre-order it from www.easystar.com starting the week of May 22.