Live From Mars

Ben Harper has never been afraid of showing off his influences, and this generous live set is no exception. On the electric band jams on Disc One and solo acoustic turns on Disc Two, it's no secret when he's channeling Jeff Buckley's otherworldly rock ("Woman in You"), Cat Stevens' Elizabethan folk ("Pleasure and Pain"), the Jackson 5's bubble funk ("Steal My Kisses") or Led Zeppelin's Gaelic metal excess ("Glory and Consequence"). But because Harper's range is so broad and his technical ability beyond that of so many of his peers, he and his Innocent Criminals can even cover Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing," the Verve's "The Drugs Don't Work" and Led Zep's "Whole Lotta Love" without sounding like a bar band with an identity problem. This chameleon sounds most like himself when playing straight from the heart: The intensity with which he cries out "Please Bleed" is reason enough to grant the man a little karaoke.