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FreeFest: Thievery Corporation's masterminds hide in plain sight

freefestSista Pat was one of many vocalists who kept the spotlight off Rob Garza and Eric Hilton. (Kyle Gustafson for The Washington Post)

By David Malitz

If Thievery Corporation played a show and Rob Garza and Eric Hilton weren't there, would anybody notice?

The duo that makes up the D.C.-based, globe-trotting electronic music superstars are basically afterthoughts in their own performances, and at their late-afternoon set on FreeFest's West Stage they once again ceded the spotlight to about a dozen collaborators.

Garza and Hilton were on their usual stage-center perch, behind a collection of keyboards, turntables and other gizmos. Their hands were usually busy, but sometimes they simply swayed or whispered into each other's ears.

They had plenty of backup, and the usual parade of guest vocalists filtered on and off the stage. Rootz and Zeebo led them through the more energized, reggae/R&B tunes. LouLou presided over more casual fare that reminded us Thievery was chillwave before we knew what that meant. Sista Pat's songs landed somewhere in the middle. There was also a horn section, and bassist Ashish Vyas and sitarist Rob Myers provided much of the backbone, especially on the Middle Eastern-tinged songs.

Smartly, the high-energy numbers took precedence, keeping the crowd interested throughout. Maybe even more interested than Garza and Hilton themselves.

By Click Track  | September 25, 2010; 6:00 PM ET
Categories:  Live blogging  | Tags:  Virgin Mobile FreeFest  
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Next: FreeFest: For Ludacris, greatest hits trump latest hits

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