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In concert: Thievery Corporation

Thievery CorporationLots of ambience, little dancing for Thievery Corporation's 9:30 club show on Wednesday night. (All photos by Evy Mages/FTWP)

By Chris Klimek

Another January, another Thievery Corporation residency at the 9:30 Club. Don’t forget:
1) Earplugs; and 2) Drugs (optional).

At the home opener of a five-night stand, D.C.’s veteran purveyors of instant, worldly ambience for your dinner party or client presentation delivered the fair-trade goods for 135 minutes, at fidelity-obliterating, sternum-rattling volume. It’d be tempting to say the often listless affair was a comme ci, comme ca concert but a good dance party, if not for the inconvenient truth that only slightly more of the crowd was shaking it than on a typical 9:30-hosted night of indie rock.

(Garza and Hilton looking good, after the jump.)

Thievery Corporation

Rob Garza and Eric Hilton, the Corporation’s two-man board of directors, didn’t display much of an ear for pacing, but they brought great party decorations. Their four-screen video rig beamed brilliantly shot and edited footage of riots and Capoeira dancers, TC’s own excellent videos for cuts like “.38.45,” and what looked like animated extrapolations of Joan Miro paintings. A painter occupied the stage-right VIP balcony, easel-to-crowd, completing two vibrant abstractions from scratch during the concert.

Oh, the music? A hypnotic but often indistinct gravy of heavy-footed midtempo dub-reggae, mostly. Six additional instrumentalists augmented the Hilton-Garza nerve center, and eight vocalists took turns singing or emceeing in an Embassy Row of tongues. If you covered your ears you could discern their voices from the smothering fog of low end.

Save for when they emerged to introduce the band, the sharp-suited Garza and Hilton spent the evening in silence behind their elevated deck of keyboards and consoles, flanked by two percussionists. With the other musicians arrayed in front of them and dressed to sweat, it was hard not to imagine the black-suited duo as possibly sinister puppeteers, a jarring contrast to the anti-globalization agitprop of tracks like “Vampires.”

Thievery Corporation performs at 9:30 club through Sunday. As of press time, all shows except Sunday are sold out.

Thievery Corporation

Thievery Corporation

By David Malitz  |  January 21, 2010; 3:30 PM ET
Categories:  In concert  | Tags: Thievery Corporation  
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