Thievery Corporation test out HOB

A review of Thievery Corporation at the House of Blues on February 24, 2009

, Staff Writer

To see Thievery Corporation perform live is completely different from their studio offerings. What is catchy but lounge-y world beats in the CD player becomes a loud, raucous party once the band hits the stage. It’s not that easy to describe seeing them perform, simply because it’s one of those things that have to be experienced to fully understand. But I suppose I’d be out of a job if I didn’t try.

Founders Rob Garza and Eric Hilton, along with their rotating cast of musicians, brought their live spectacle to the all new House of Blues this past Tuesday. The crowd was generally pretty excited both at the prospect of seeing the band and to be in a very new venue. The House of Blues is humongous, two layers of balconies overlooking a huge floor. But how does it sound?

Well, the acoustics are spot-on. The opener of “Sound The Alarm”, off of their newest album, Radio Retaliation, pretty quickly determined just how good the sound was at this place, nice and resonant, not falling flat as it is wont to do at packed concerts (and the House was filled to the brim on this night). Every instrument sounded clear, and they mixed together without sounding too muffled. Everyone was dancing to the irresistible beats of Thievery Corporation. They then followed up with “Mandala”, which opened with a mesmerizing sitar solo that gave way to a melody bolstered by some great-sounding horns.

The song that really got everyone going was “Lebanese Blond”, which got a lot of airtime thanks to being on the Garden State soundtrack. The vocals were lovely, and it was hard not to get really into the performance. The band then brought on vocalist LouLou to perform “La Femme Parallel” and “Sweet Tides”. “La Femme Parallel” was particularly good thanks to LouLou’s gorgeous French singing, and the song settled into a really Zen groove that brought things down a little. Really, the whole set demonstrated just how versatile Thievery Corporation can be: one minute they’ll be blowing your face off with raucous danceable tunes, the next they’ll just be chilling out, grooving along.

The performance ended with “Marching The Hate Machines Into The Sun”, originally featuring The Flaming Lips, off The Cosmic Game (unfortunately, the Lips were not in attendance). It was a suitable closer, and ended the night on a somewhat subdued note. Thievery Corporation are one of the great live acts out there right now – it’s always great to see musicians who really love what they do, and though they don’t tour often, it’s clear that they love every second of it. They are definitely worth seeing if the opportunity arises, and so it’s no surprise that the House was completely packed for their performance. With a ring in your ears and an increased pulse do you leave a Thievery Corporation concert, and that’s how it ought to be.

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