Sunday, November 1, 2009

Concert Review: Thievery Corporation 10/26 @ House of Blues

As I was studying for a midterm on Monday evening, October 26th, I seriously considered skipping the Thievery Corporation show later that night. It was cold and drizzling out, and I was comfortably settled on the couch with a nice warm cup of coffee. Then I remembered last semester when I saw Thievery Corporation at House of Blues; the band had blown me away. Though it took a lot of energy, I somehow dragged myself out the house. As soon as I arrived at the House of Blues, the scent of incense and the first few notes of Garden State hit “Lebanese Blonde” enveloped my senses.

The band had a similar demeanor that they did last year: relaxed yet with an uncanny ability to make the crowd want to dance. [While Thievery is notable for having a rotating ensemble of players, the main cast of characters stayed mostly the same. Founders Rob Garza and Eric Hilton hung toward the back of the stage, mostly serving as DJ’s, with two drummers were on either side of them. Two horn players and a bassist completed the band, while a variety of vocalists performed solos. One major difference between the two shows is that instead of the two Jamaican main singers the band performed with last time, this performance featured a vocalist who toured with Femi Kuti this summer.

Thievery Corporation is known for their funky Brazilian jams, and these definitely came through. The band seemed to be having a good time and was particularly energized. They got they involved the audience into many songs by encouraging them to sing along. I was surprised that although they played hits like “Radio Retaliation” and “Amerimacka,” there was not much deviation from the show they performed in Boston in February. The lighting and backdrop were the same, and they even played the same songs. Thievery Corporation has not come out with a new album so I was surprised that they even went on tour. I thoroughly enjoyed the show but the entire time I felt like I was experiencing déjà vu.

Even though the show felt familiar, there were still a few songs that stood out. At one point, bassist Ashish Vyas sat down in the middle of the stage and began playing his bass upright. As always, he played without shoes, and seemed really into the music. The bass was so distorted that the audience could feel the bass vibrating in their chest. Vyas was a highlight of the show—his presence is incredibly animated on stage. In addition to Vyas, another exciting part of the show were the performances from vocalist LuLu, who sang “La Femme Parralle” and “Sweet Tides,” two hits of Thievery Corporation’s newest album, Radio Retaliation. The crowd seemed delighted with her tunes and she got the most applause at the end of the set. Overall, Thievery Corporation played a great show; unfortunately, it was a show that I had seen before.

-Lana Tkachenko

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