REVIEW: Thievery Corporation at the Pabst Theater


Describing Thievery Corporation’s sound in writing isn’t the easiest job. It’s extremely eclectic, original and masterful. I feel that is the best way to describe the band as a whole. Every bit of sound that TC created felt orchestrated with intelligent design. The show itself was simple, but each member of the band felt important in driving the music. Paired with a bevy of singers, each with their own genres, styles of singing and sometimes different languages. All of which made a highly original and well-performed show, albeit a bit monotonous at times.

The Band

Hailing from Washington DC, Thievery Corporation, has an interesting story. Forming based on their similar interest in Bossa Nova and Brazillian culture, band creators Rob Garza and Eric Hilton formed their band and a record label to produce their music. Creating music for nearly 25 years, the duo has created a varying level of downtempo and lounge music that fits in almost any setting. The two have added additional band members and touring singers, but remain to be the biggest constant throughout the band’s tenure.

The Experience

A fairly crowded Pabst theater riddled with fans in Halloween garb is what Thievery Corporation had to walk out to. And to be honest, it was the most fitting for the show had in store. The very unique sound group sauntered out and without much delay began playing. Although the stage was a bit bare-bones the lighting display made up for the lack of anything else on the stage. It was clear from the start these are career musicians and felt at home on stage. The barefooted Rob Garza strutted around the stage as he played his bass and kept the show flowing. 

Thankfully he was one of the few musicians who moved around on stage to an otherwise stagnant band. Outside of the singers, the entirety of the show felt rather slower paced. Much to my surprise, the crowd was on their feet through the majority of the show dancing to the varying genres from reggae, to French jazz, to the Bossa Nova sound they are formed on. Laced in between much of their music, Eric Hilton plays the sitar, creating some of Thievery Corporation’s most iconic sounds.

Throughout the show, we were graced by multiple singers as previously mentioned that helped break up any semblance of monotony. I mean that in the most respectful manner, but there were points of the show that felt like they were melding from one song into the next. It was a welcome surprise to hear each talented musician act almost as the frontman for the show as the concert went on.

The Verdict

While Thievery Corporation and their well-curated sound is a treat to listen to on vinyl, I feel that their live shows can seem to go on for too long. Sometimes a long show is a welcome surprise, and sometimes you just want to hear the next song. That’s not to say the overall show was a bust. There were plenty of surprises with the bilingual singers and the refined sound they crafted was fantastic. Personally, I’ll stick to hearing their music in a lounge while I sip my martini, the way that I feel Thievery Corporation is best enjoyed. 

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