[29 June 2011]
D.C’s premier electronic-dub outfit, Thievery Corporation pulled out all stops for their outdoor show in Brooklyn as bringing their full ensemble out to get their groove on. They also shared a word to the wise to the crowd amassed at the Williamsburg Waterfront, spreading their political message. As laid out in the title of their new album, the Thievery duo of Rob Garza and Eric Hilton recognize that the world, or at least America, has come to reflect a Culture of Fear.
The title track pronounces, “don’t succumb to this culture of fear”; but, when this song played early on, it was clear that no one in the audience had anything to fear for Thievery had arrived in full form. With three years passing between studio albums Radio Retaliation and Culture (a greatest hits album, It Takes a Thief had been released in between), Thievery had not allowed time to knock them off track though the American political landscape has certainly changed a bit. Their new songs interlocked well with the old hits and, with the rain staying away, allowed for a festive atmosphere to continue for ninety minutes.
At the frontline of the band, Rob Myers led with the guitar and Ashish Vyas dignified the stage with his bass. Garza and Hilton remained behind their electronic equipment for the most part as they allowed regular contributors, as well as a few new ones, to take turns on lead vocal duty. When Sista Pat, Roots, Z and Sleepy Wonder were all hyping the crowd along, the Williamsburg crowd responded by bouncing along to the reggae-inflected numbers like “Warning Shots”. The other guest vocalists mostly contributed on downtempo world fusion tunes. Frank Orrall performed “The Heart’s a Lonely Hunter” before deciding to do laps around the stage and appeared again for the final song. Lou Lou approached the front several times like when she wonderfully sang “Sweet Tides”. Sista Pat received resounding applause for when she sang the big hit “Lebanese Blonde”.
Overall, Thievery’s show was a successful coming out for the album and a great way to welcome some new artists to the fold. Despite some introductions of bandmates, I was unable to catch the names of the new ones, though I thought the duo was “Organized Chaos” (but as I write this, I’m not even sure). If you have any hesitation to see Thievery when they come to your neck of the woods, just know Thievery can do no wrong. Within a span of minutes, you’ll find yourself waving your hands in the air whether you meant to or not.