Formerly the Mikel Lander and Meridith Moore Band, (established in 2007) a duet of sass/vocals a la Meridith and guitar/vocals a la Mikel, they later erupted onto the local music scene as the Sugar Thieves, accompanied by Shea Marshall (keys, woodwinds, and horns), Ray Thiry (stand-up bass), and David Libman (drums).
Some things are meant to be, such is the case of the Sugar Thieves. Pioneering the way for other desert bands following in the footsteps of their idols and inspirations, the Sugar Thieves lead the way, delivering their interpretations on Blues and Folk and twisting them up with their own spice of Americana Soul.
Winners of the AZ State Blues Competition two years in a row, voted Best Blues Band for ’08 and ’09, and nominated by the New Times for “Best Americana Band” in their Summer of Sound category adorn their local music resume, but the talent and excitement doesn’t end there. Occasionally they give Memphis a taste of how they do it in the desert, placing in the top 10 for the IBC Competition in ’08 and ensuring their involvement again in 2010. Despite their hectic schedules, any encounter with Meridith and Mikel is a treat and they are always hospitable and personable, whether you are having a conversation, just saying hi, or enjoying one of their lively sets.
Some people may not know how to fully appreciate their style of music and the energy it creates, but no worries. All you have to do is find a spot to sit, or stand; I recommend standing due to its allowance for jamming/dancing and just follow the band’s lead. From the stage the Sugar Thieves exude the auras of and pay tribute to their influences such as BB King, Bonnie Raitt, and Tom Waits, to name a few, while sharing their own interpretation of acoustic and gospel style Blues. The gravel in Mikels voice mixed with the thick sugary wail of Meridith often inspires music lovers to put down their drinks and sway to the music. They even offer Swing Dancing Lessons every Wednesday at the Sail Inn with an opportunity to test the new skills to their live set afterward.
When the Sugar Thieves play, their union of the Big Band sound with a Jazzy Soul finish delivers a sound one would be hard pressed to duplicate or dislike. Every performance is like a party that starts on the stage and spills over into the crowd, reminding people how music was in the past and showing them what they have now molded it into. They have their own unique mix of history and experience that all people can relate to and enjoy.