Caravan Of Thieves & New Country Rehab 10.23.14

Avogadro’s Number
Fort Collins, CO

Words, Photos & Video By Nicholas Stock (Fat Guerilla Productions)

The cavalcade of enjoyment that is The Caravan Of Thieves rolled into Fort Collins. The Bohemian Gypsy Jazz experience is one that will not soon be forgotten. Caravan Of Thieves is a Connecticut group that centers on Fuzz Sangiovanni (founding member of Deep Banana Blackout) and his wife Carrie. Their harmonization is the star of the show. Bassist Brian Anderson and violinist Ben Dean round out the band. The show was at the sometimes-overlooked Avogadro’s Number. This venue consistently delivers vivacious shows with strong nationally touring acts. Furthermore Avo’s is an oasis for local musicians who have a multitude of opportunities to play there including open mics and the now renowned Dead Jam. On this particular night the tables that span the room were all full, but it would take coaxing from the band to get anyone to dance vertically.

Arriving a bit after 9PM I was greeted by the energizing sounds of New Country Rehab. This group of four hails from Ontario, Canada and was playing in Fort Collins for their first time.

Set One: Empty Room Blues, Home To You, Lost Highway, My Buckets Got A Hole In It, Lizzy Dying of a Broken Heart, Too Many Parties and Too Many Pals, Logan County Blues, Blair, The Last Hand, State Trooper

We arrived during “Lizzy” which was a brooding tale of a war veteran turned venue owner. The fiddle of John Showman (yes that’s his name) is front and center. They were touring with another guitarist who was filling in for regular picker Anthony de Costa. They call themselves alt-country, but they are a whirlwind of styles blending rock, funk, bluegrass, latin, and more into one giant bowl of Americana. They would be at home opening up for The Avett Brothers or Edward Sharpe, however I think they have bigger ambitions than being an opener. “Too Man Parties and Too Many Pals” was a stripped down rock version of the Hank Williams’ classic first released in 1950. “Logan County Blues” was high-speed traditional instrumental that showed yet another side of this versatile group. They closed with a solid version of Bruce Springsteen’s “State Trooper” complete with siren wails from the fiddle.

The Caravan of Thieves were soon on stage and getting ready a full set of joyful exuberance. Fuzz started the show with an extended drum jam featuring his makeshift percussion instruments before the full band went into “Shim Sham.”

Set One: Shim Sham, Sympathy For The Devil, Candy, I Don’t Wanna, Eat You, Monster, I Got You, Rattlesnake, Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, Bohemian Rhapsody, Dead Wrong

Encore: She’s Leaving> Within You Without You, Raise The Dead

The “Sympathy For the Devil” was referred to as the ‘Devil Medley’ because it sharply segued into “The Devil Went Down To Georgia” before teasing INXS’s “Devil Inside” and then returning to the original Rolling Stones tune. It was obviously something they prepared for their upcoming Halloween show, but it was nice to see it here. The Caravan Of Thieves have a profound ability to create interesting and amusing mash-ups that are incredibly entertaining. The swing took the spotlight on “Candy” which is a sweet homage to all things cavity inducing. The set as a whole was one part gypsy swing band, one part vaudeville, and one part audience interaction. The show featured sing-alongs lead by the band as well as a crowd member holding a bucket while Fuzz furiously beat away at it next to the merch table. During “Monster” the band invited everyone to harmonize for a few minutes creating a rich texture of sound in the room. We were treated to a couple songs with just Carrie and Fuzz including a beautiful “I Got You” on the single mic. Ben Dean got a chance to show off his classical chops with a brilliant “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.” They gave us a straight rendition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which has been used in one of their mash ups previously. They closed the set with their pulsating tune about a missed connection “Dead Wrong.”

Caravan Of Thieves returned with The Beatles’ “She’s Leaving” into a spot on version of “Within You Without You,” which they performed last year on Halloween as part of a gypsy style tribute to the Fab Four. Afterwards the band came down on the floor and invited the audience to stomp along on their anthem to the deceased “Raise The Dead.” They seem to come to Fort Collins around Halloween so we get the benefit of seeing what they have in store for the big show. This night was a wonderful time at Avogadro’s as I continue to be impressed by this impeccable musical experience. The Caravan Of Thieves play their hearts out onstage and strive to give unique performances that leave fans spiritually invigorated. Their dark sense of style and love of all things vintage only adds to their mystique as a band. They are a group built on love and trust which is exactly what they give their audience each time they take up their instruments. Go see the Caravan Of Thieves, you won’t leave disappointed.

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