Taken from Shepherd Express (Nov 07, 2019)
Thievery Corporation Exciting and Super Chill
by Thomas Michalski
Thievery Corporation Tourposter 2019
Blending pop and world music genres can often be a difficult proposition, the results too often slipping into either watered-down, pseudo-exotic mush or simplistic, mash up-style juxtapositions. But for well over 20 years now, Washington, D.C., duo Thievery Corporation has been making it look downright easy, effortlessly absorbing a myriad of genres into their heady, endlessly evolving trip-hop concoction. Pulling that signature style off in a live setting would only seem to pose additional challenges, but true to form, their easy-going yet ambitious approach made for a concert-going experience that was simultaneously exciting and super chill in equal measure.
Not having a new album to tout this time around did not seem to affect the attendance tally with the crowd creeping into the Pabst's third tier of seats by the time local openers, the up-and-coming brothers Immortal Girlfriend, got into their set. Cinematic and stylish, the pair's modern synth-pop sound is perfect for being either in your feelings or on the dance floor, but it could also stand to branch out into less controlled territory from time to time. Quibbling aside, they received a warm welcome from their hometown crowd and ably set the mood for the headliner.
For their part, Thievery Corporation came equipped with everything necessary to bring their multi-dimensional sound into the real world, including a backing band of skilled hands and a rotating cast of vocalists. Yet, while it's thrilling to hear classics like "Lebanese Blonde" or selections from their recent dancehall-influenced releases recreated in full, the most memorable moments were stripped-down, such as a tour bus-style acoustic jam session, or impromptu, like Mr. Lif's localized freestyle and the riff from "Blister in the Sun" underpinning the musician introductions. Whatever they turn their hand to, however, Thievery Corporation seems to master it with ease.