Thievery Corporation takes Tampa Bay on a global musical journey

Thievery Corporation - (Photo by Jim Bennett/Getty Images)

Thievery Corporation, the duo from Washington D.C. that have gone on to be internationally acclaimed for their mix of electronic, Indian, Brazilian, Middle Eastern, jazz, and hip hop influenced blends, were at Jannus Live in St. Pete on Tuesday, May 21st. Did I have a Morning Show to host the next day? Yes. Did this mean I had to wake up at 4:55am the following morning? For sure. However, did that stop me from going to the late-night show? Absolutely not! I was not going to miss my first opportunity to see a band we’ve known and loved since the 90s, especially in my hometown of Tampa Bay.

Coming straight from Cam Dilley’s retirement party,  I arrived at the show around 8pm. It was beautiful outside- a soft breeze, purples and reds in the sky for sunset, and about 80 degrees. Perfect conditions for live music! The moment I stepped into Jannus, the place was already packed and smelling like a certain green leaf (wink wink).

Thievery Corporation Photo by Sam Hval 

From the Margaritaville beach bums to the tie-dye hippies with braided beards, people of all backgrounds were there and ready to chill out and turn up. I weaved through this group, going for the merch table to grab my swag early, then finding my favorite spot at Jannus to stand: the corner of the stage closest to the exit. Decent views, and easy to avoid the crowds. That’s when the band comes on.

Rob Garza has always reminded me of actor John Leguizamo for some reason (I think it’s the sleek facial hair), and in real life, the likeness was just the same! He stood behind what I believe to be a key/mixing board, shrouded by a cloaked platform typical at electronic shows. His partner, Eric Hilton, immediately hopped on the sitar, and with each song, I felt transported from continent to continent. How can I be hyped up and low-key content at the same time? Thievery Corporation balanced these vibes well, with four interchanging singers and rappers accompanying each tune.

Thievery Corporation Photo by Sam Hval

Overall, the band was large, even though they’ve had larger: one drummer, one percussionist, a bass player, and Hilton occasionally hopping on guitar to round things out. Even with the sizable production, it all felt effortless, a sign of how talented and tight these musicians and vocalists are. They played favorites like “Lebanese Blonde”, as well as made the crowd jump, holler, and get into a trance.

After an epic conga solo, resulting in a tamberine being placed on top of Hilton’s head, the band did something I don’t see often at concerts: an intermission! While they were setting up some chairs for something acoustic, it was unfortunately my time to leave. After all, I did still have to be on air by 6am! However, that sweet hour with Thievery Corporation at Jannus Live was something I still feel in my bones.

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