Interview: Gang of Thieves

Words by Jackson Balling. Photo by Julia Luckett Cox.

The last time I spoke with Gang of Thieves was three months ago here at Big Heavy World when they were promoting a benefit for Funkwagon’s Aaron Burroughs while mentioning an upcoming tour and the April 20th release of their new record Thunderfunk. This time around I sat again at Big Heavy with bassist Tobin Salas again, as well as Michael and Nate Reit, frontman and recently added trombonist, respectively, to discuss their recent order of events since our last interview.

They started with their experiences at South by Southwest, where they played seven packed shows in five days, which despite being preached by the band as a great success it also had the subtle undertones of a touring nightmare. Tobin mentioned that their dates and set times weren't confirmed until less than a week before they planned to take the stage, a risky move for any band travelling the distance and a change of pace from what the band was used to when it came to booking shows.

Despite all the challenges they made it through their spring tour, wrapping it all up at a private party for an ex-stuntman in Joshua Tree, California, which was described by the half of the band as their kind of party and didn't surprise me after my first impressions of the funk rockers. They shared their experiences watching “Molotov bowling”, “a flamethrower guitar that shoots flames out as you play notes”, and “a guy who lit himself on fire and ran around”, all of which leave a lot to the imagination.

From that once in a lifetime experience that still leaves me jealous, the guys came back home in preparation for their big record release show at ArtsRiot, a day that started with a photo shoot and ended with their headlining set, complete with a full horns section and professional live filming. The hometown crowd enjoyed the new tracks, as well as various critics who reviewed the record, leaving the band very satisfied with the official start to their Thunderfunk-era.

Currently they find themselves with a residency at Nectar’s every Wednesday of this month, which each show having a unique theme that helps to solidify the feeling of their unique sets. In addition to that they have a set at our very own HeavyFest this Saturday, May 17th, at the Magic Hat Brewery, which the band and I are both extremely excited for. The night before HeavyFest finds them in Plattsburgh at Olive Ridley’s, a 21+ show where they hope to provide a Gang of Thieves-inspired shuttle service between the venue and our Queen City. My time with the band wrapped up with a plug for HempFest in New Hampshire, a weekend festival that runs from July 18th through the 20th, which the band is also selling discounted three day passes for.

Be sure to catch Gang of Thieves, among others, at HeavyFest this Saturday at Magic Hat Brewery for only $5!