Club d’Elf will premiere their cover of Phish‘s “Sand” live this Saturday, December 4 at Soundcheck Studios in Pembroke, Massachusetts. The improvisational ensemble previously contributed a studio version of the song to Cluster Flies, a compilation presented by JamBase reimagining Phish’s Farmhouse album.
Vocalist Jen Kearney sang lead vocals on Club d’Elf’s “Sand” cover for Cluster Flies and will perform with the band at Soundcheck Studios. The rest of the lineup featured on the song — keyboardist Amy Bellamy, guitarist Van Martin, turntablist Mister Rourke, multi-instrumentalist Mike “Micro” Rivard and drummer Dean Johnston — are also aboard for Saturday’s concert.
“Sand” shares its title with a Club d’Elf original dedicated to the late Mark Sandman of Morphine. “When [JamBase CEO] David Onigman first approached me, I had never heard the original version on Farmhouse,” recalled Rivard. “The Phish and Trey [Anastasio] versions are in 4/4 but I thought it would be hip to give it a totally different feel, and when I fooled around with the bassline it sounded cool over a Moroccan chaabi groove, which is a rhythm we love to play. The idea was to give the whole thing a trippy Moroccan trance vibe, and we play it in 6 for most of the track, and at the end move to 7 and accelerate the tempo.”
Club d’Elf recorded their cover of Phish’s “Sand” at Chillhouse Studios months into the pandemic. “It was the first time most of us had played live with other musicians in awhile,” Rivard added. “That felt pretty amazing, I have to say. It was also cool to have a robust female presence in the band, which is usually just a bunch of dudes. Amy Bellamy has played with D’Elf for many years, and is one of the most badass musicians around. It was a delight to work with Jen Kearney for the first time, and the amazing vocal arrangement is hers, and I dig the instrumental arrangement.”
The band will release a new album entitled You Never Know on April 1, 2022. Half the LP is devoted to music from Club d’Elf’s influences while the other half features originals written in the wake of Rivard’s “personal journey into darkness following a near death experience in the remote jungle of the Peruvian Amazon.” Micro is joined on the LP by Johnston, Mister Rourke and keyboardist John Medeski.
Tickets for Club d’Elf’s Saturday show at Soundcheck Studios are on sale now via Eventbrite. Hear Rivard discuss covering Phish’s “Sand” and more with Onigman by streaming the “Sand” Cluster Flies episode of The JamBase Podcast below: