Thievery Corporation seems to have done it right. After meeting in 1995, Rob Garza and Eric Hilton united their love for reggae, dub, hip hop, jazz, and latin music in a fusion that would ultimately draw in thousands of fans. Not only did they develop a new and different sound that is unique to their own style, but they did so on their own terms, releasing their music on their own ESL record label.
Thievery Corporation’s records are smooth and sexy, and hearing them for the first time, you will probably have the sudden urge to bob your head and give your hips a sexy rotation. Seeing the band live, though, is a whole other story. During live performances they exude a playful and intense energy that can only be fully understood in person.
They opened their show at The Greek Theatre Friday night with a bouncy jam featuring guitar, bass, drums, percussion, and sitar. Their bassist, who is by far the most eye-catching person on stage, spent all of about 30 seconds on that stage before jumping barefoot into the crowd, promptly sitting on some guy in the front row. This would set the mood for the evening, and after getting back on the stage, he didn’t stop moving for 90 minutes.
The first vocalist Thievery Corporation brought out was a talented emcee who reminded the crowd that “We are Thievery Corporation!” Normally this would be an obvious statement, but this group has two full-fledged “members” and a group of musicians and vocalists that rotate and enter and exit throughout the show.
You would think that one of their “guest” vocalists wouldn’t be as much a part of the “band” (sorry for the overuse of quotation marks), but the beauty of Thievery Corporation is their communal and unified nature. Both their music and live show present the important messages of unity, collaboration, and cooperation.
Guest after guest, they brought out everything from Rasta emcees to beautiful and seductive female vocalists, each of whom brought their own unique energy and style to the stage. Some would have the audience swaying in a breezy trance while others would have the entire audience jumping and pumping their fists (but not in a Jersey way).
Another prominent aspect of Thievery Corporation’s message (in case you couldn’t tell by their name) is politics. With album titles such as Radio Retaliation, The Richest Man In Babylon, and their most recent effort, Culture Of Fear, it is clear that they thrive on counter-culture themes and have strong beliefs regarding modern politics and corruption.
The audience definitely sides with them. Throughout the crowd, I saw political shirts as well as an incredibly culturally diverse group of people. This huge group of open-minded concertgoers are creating positive energy through music and movement, not to mention there was more weed at the show than at a Cypress Hill concert.
Thievery Corporation creates a vibe that is amazing and meaningful on so many levels, and their energy is encompassing and real, resulting in a party atmosphere that is unlike any other.
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