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Thievery Corporation Thaws Austin with Spiritualized Vibes





Thievery Corporation Thaws Austin with Spiritualized Vibes

  Frigid temperatures seeped through the inadequate winter wear of Austinites gathered at Stubbs on Wednesday night. With indoor concerts like Two Door Cinema Club, the Black Keys and Modest Mouse all happening around town on the same night; it wouldn't be illogical to think that music fans might opt for a cozy, comfortable venue in which they could enjoy their beer and music without harsh artic winds blowing around them. Yet the tandem of New York-based party outfit, Brazilian Girls, and the Austin-affiliated eclectic electronica group, Thievery Corporation, would bring a dedicated crowd that mitigated the November frost by manifesting a soulful dance party.

Brazilian Girls' original lead singer, Sabina Sciubba, declined to come on tour; yet her presence was hardly missed since her replacement, Sophia Urista, injected a youthful vigor and smoldering sexuality into the band's dynamic. Gyrating and erupting through the band's staccato hit "Pirates", it became clear that Sophia had no qualms making these songs her own. As the crowd continued to trickle in, Brazilian Girls began to hit the zenith of their set with elongated jams to hits like "Don't Stop" and "Pussy". The festive and tropical stylings of Brazilian Girls served as a perfect preface to the spiritual zionist vibes of Thievery Corporation that would follow.

It has to be a powerful force that can pull Austinites out of their central-heated homes and into freezing temperatures, but Thievery Corporation transcends being 'just another' touring band - they're an immersive experience. While the foundational duo of Thievery was incomplete (Rob Garza was present but not Eric Hilton), the constant stream of featured artists kept the audience fixated on what felt like a variety show stage of incredible talent. A melange of exotic musical influences weave through the band's sound, all tethered together with a streak of elevated consciousness. A bedouin-influenced opener of "Facing East" soon flowed into the latin-styled "Sol Tapado" which then warped into the politically conscious hip-hop track "Culture of Fear". A parade of featured artists emerged on nearly every track: Mr. Lif, LouLou, Puma and the indomitable Raquel Jones. 

The epoch of the show would arrive with the Thievery's mega-hit "Lebanese Blonde", followed by the francophile-disco track "Voyage Libre", which was bookended by the heart-wrenching "Sweet Tides". An intimate acoustic interlude was unexpected but allowed a degree of gravity and introspection that cleansed the palate for the last few songs."Ghettomatrix" and "Richest Man In Babylon" would close out a night of spiritual ebullience. In a time when extremes seem to polarize, strain and distance us - Thievery Corporation brought an atmosphere of benevolence and self-love that warmed every soul bearing the wintry winds of our time.

- Lee Ackerley

Published: November 15, 2019 |

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