By Jameson Mangan | December 8, 2022
The historic Kings Theatre features a brightly-lit marquee sign and immensely high walls and ceilings, every inch of which are decorated with intricate gold moldings and ornate hand-painted artwork. A venue saturated with rich history and fit for an opera was about to become home to a night of experimental musical fusions.
You know your friend who’s well-travelled, chic, intelligent, tasteful–basically just hip as fuck? Thievery Corporation is the musical equivalent of that friend. Complete with their signature set-up (an elevated DJ booth perched behind a leather couch) the group took the stage in front of a seated crowd who didn’t stay seated for very long. Founders, Eric Hilton and Rob Garza, led a rotating cast of vocalists– six to be exact–as they transported listeners across the globe with lyrics sung in English, Spanish and French. Songs that would be right at home on both the beaches of Kingston and in the nightclubs of Paris.
At its core, Thievery is an artfully curated combination of funk, hip-hop, reggae and house music. Upon further examination, the influences are harder to pinpoint. By merging traditionally Latin, Indian, Middle-Eastern and Eastern-European sounds, Thievery Corporation redefines the meaning of fusion music and creates a live experience that has kept fans on the edge of their seats for more than two decades.
The couch was put to good use by the band’s incredibly talented guitarist, Rob Myers, who would remove his shoes and sit cross-legged on the couch when it was time to rip on the sitar. Percussionist, Frank Orrall, took a break from the rhythm section to sing lead vocals on “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.” During the climax of his high-energy performance, Orrall began to swing a 15-foot wire in circles above his head. Attached to it was a glowing orb. The house lights were cut, leaving the rotating illuminated orb as the only source of light–it was quite a spectacle.
Not to be outdone, drummer, Jeff Franca, ran from one side of the stage to the other tossing shakers and maracas out into the crowd so the audience could get in on the fun. He then joined Orrall for an extended drum solo which garnered one of the biggest applause of the evening. The group performed classics, such as “The Richest Man in Babylon,” which was met with enthusiastic sing-alongs and chants from the crowd. Large swaths of fans could be heard singing the iconic horn line from “Lebanese Blonde” (BAH-DOP…BAH BAHHHH) as they headed for the exits.
📸: shot by Levi Barrie