Genre defining electronic musicians Thievery Corporation kicked off their Outernational Tour last Friday at the ornate Wall Street Theater in Norwalk, CT to a packed house. Despite issues traveling to Connecticut, the band was thrilled to be performing together, as this marks the first tour since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Dessa was on hand and lended support for the event.
The historic Wall Street Theater has a storied history that began in 1915 as The Regent, featuring live vaudeville acts. The venue also hosted political events and eventually served as a movie theater after the Great Depression. The venue closed as a movie theater in 1989, and later reopened as a music venue in 1993, hosting bands such as David Lee Roth and Waylon Jennings. In 1999, the space was transformed into a dance club. More recently, the theater has rebranded as The Wall Street Theater, and reopened as a non-profit organization poised to be the go to destination for live events in the area.
For over twenty five years, the downtempo artists Thievery Corporation have released music that combine acid jazz, hip-hop, bossa nova, dub and reggae blended with components of Indian and Middle Eastern music. Led by producers and multi-intrumentalists Rob Garza and Eric Hilton, the band utilized a mix of singers to create the subtly sweet EDM fusion. This evening, Garza was joined by musicians Jeff Franca (drums), Rob Myers (sitar, guitar), and Ashish "Hash" Vyas (bass). The cast of singers included Natalia Clavier, Raquel Jones, Puma Ptah, Mr. Lif, and Loulou Ghelichkhani. Notably absent was Hilton, as he rarely performs with the live show these days.
The festivities began with Dessa, a singer, rapper and writer who brought mellow hip hop beats combined with electronica to create a melodic compliment to Thievery Corporation. She engaged with the crowd and certainly found new fans this evening with her charisma and unique musical style.
After the crowd was warmed up, Thievery Corporation took the stage and did not disappoint. The singing corps would rotate members onto the stage for each number. The global sounds had a welcoming chill vibe. Vyas moved about the stage freely, gliding past the other musicians. Myers rotated his instruments, opting for the sitar numerous times while perched on the sofa in front of Garza and Franca. Mr. Lif notably engaged the crowd with his hip hop rapping skills, while Puma Ptah dropped stellar reggae infused lyrics.
At one point, Garza grabbed the microphone and explained to the crowd that travel cancellations almost hindered the show tonight, but the band members found a way to convene in Connecticut, after renting a car to finish the final leg. He also revealed that he used to live in Connecticut many years ago, and was excited to be back in the Constitution State. He also showed his musical diversity by grabbing a guitar and vibing back and forth with Vyas, creating a rock meets trip hop transcendent bliss. Near the end of the show, Myers joined in with the sitar once again, adding tasty Indian tones to the downtempo electronic mosiac. Nearly everyone in the crowd was dancing and thoroughly enjoying this eclectic fusion.
Thievery Corporation certainly started their Outernational Tour with a bang at the Wall Street Theater in Norwalk, CT. The good news is that they are on the road this fall, with many more dates on the ledger. Visit their website for more information on shows near you.