Thievery Corporation's 20th Anniversary Tour
The Southeast leg of the Thievery Corporation 20th Anniversary Tour kicked off in downtown Atlanta’s Tabernacle on Wednesday, December 1. It is a beloved venue that was once a church and transformed during the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games as the House of Blues club. Today, it still remains as a venue for artists, musicians, and other celebrations with tiered seating and accommodations, private lounge areas and poor live video quality shown in the bar areas. There were no lines when I arrived after the opening act, The Reminders. The show didn’t sell out, but there were still people pacing up and down the block looking for tickets. One guy with a lit cigarette approached me while I was at the ticket booth to buy my nonexistent plus one. He was quickly reprimanded by the teller for smoking too close to the window. “Buy a ticket!” scowled the teller. Ol’buddy didn’t want to pay face value and Facebook comments agreed. Ticket prices were $56 which was more than the expected price, but the crowd shelled out to hear the debut of a new track and to witness the marriage of two Atlanta natives.
The platform was set with Rob Garza posted upstage center with drummer Congo Sanchez on his left, percussionist Frank Orrall, and trumpet and saxophone players on his right. Downstage remained as the roaming area for the singers and strings. Two Persian area rugs adorned center stage. A chaise lounge chair and a red armchair were also homes for guitar/sitar player Rob Myers and bassist Ashish “Hash” Vyas. The venue was full, but not crowded and was filled with a majority of seasoned fans, mostly adults and a handful of millennials. Aside from age, the biggest difference was that Fan A got their pipe confiscated after security check, but before their ticket was scanned yet Fan B was smoking on the back patio later that night. Such is life, but the common denominator was Thievery Corporation.
The band eased into the evening with “Facing East," a tune of Indian influences. Next, the soothing voice of Lou Lou Ghelichkhani accompanied them for “Take My Soul," a downtempo melody with a chilled out vibe. Two very different style of songs that would set the tone for an evening of multi-cultural fusions and artistic expression. Their worldly acid jazz sound is the reason my boss religiously recommends Thievery Corporation Pandora station to our clients for pre function or cocktail events. It is the perfect setting for loungey, unoffensive background music. This may not sound like an ideal concert setting for some, but for others, it would be a night to remember.
Thievery Corporation took us on a global journey across multiple genres from trip hop tunes of “La Femme Parallel” and “Depth of My Soul to reggae favorite “Amerimacka.” And for the first time ever, they world debuted “Ghetto Matrix” performed by Mr. Lif from their upcoming album The Temple of I & I set to be released on February 10, 2017. But the highlight of the evening arrived when monitor engineer, Tom Smith got married. Officiant Lou Lou took to the stage and invited Atlanta natives Katie Charles, the groom along with their two children, the entire Thievery Corporation crew, and a crowd full of Thieves to celebrate in the joining of these two souls. Vows were quick and the bride could barely speak. A few sentences later and the spirited crowd cheered and whistled as the newlyweds kissed and posed for pictures.