I’m not usually one to rush and see live electronica, at least not traveling halfway across the country for it. Don’t get me wrong, the more laid back styles of Morcheeba, Massive Attack, and Kruder & Dorfmeister all have special places and times in my heart and I would love to see them, but it is not a priority. So one can imagine I was not overly excited to drive in an RV with Ian Hilton, brother of Thievery co-founder Eric, to see them in Houston and drive some of the guys back to New Orleans for a show the following night. The lack of full-time work and a desire to see VooDoo with the V.I.P treatment was enough to stir my interest.
I made the right decision. On the heels of the release of Thievery Corporation’s latest effort, the reggae-infused political statement called Radio Retaliation, the band is priming itself for a national tour. On a beautiful night in Houston, I caught a glimpse of what these guys can do.
Founders Eric and Rob surround themselves with an arsenal of A-list musicians on bass, guitar / sitar, horns, and percussion, not to mention a sexy belly-dancer, to flush out their eclectic compositions, breathing life into the live performance. On the vocal end Thievery uses a revolving door of talent from their label, ESL Music, to change up the mood of each song. A cast of Rastafarians, including Sleepy Wonder, pump the crowd and lend credibility to reggae tunes while the lovely and talented Argentinean vocalist Natalia Clavier invigorate classic songs like Lebanese Blonde.
Women go wild for sexy and hip style of Thievery Corporation. They have a world music infusion with bits of the Caribbean, South America, Europe, and their own D.C beats. Their broad sonic palette probably stems from the fact that they hail from a city in which every country in the world has a representative. This mixture lent itself perfectly to the VooDoo Music Festival. Electronic bands sometimes fall flat in the constant action of a festival setting. Thievery’s pounding beats sent the crowd into a whirlwind and the mixture of vocalists, dancers, and a varied set list proved to be exactly what the crowd needed between sets from Manchester Orchestra, The Mars Volta, and Ghostland Observatory. Even resident artist Frenchy got into the mix painting the band live from the middle of the crowd.