Review: Thievery Corporation at Robert Mondavi Winery: A Stream of World Music Consciousness | Arts & Theater


Thievery Corporation is made up of Rob Gaza and Eric Hilton, two guys who met at a club in Washington, DC in the mid-1990s. They’re only songwriters, performers, and musicians in the strictest sense of the word. When their songs have lyrics, however, they seem to be written in haste as in a dream state with no foundation in a communicable shared reality, as with “Heaven’s Gonna Burn Your Eyes”.

What they do is create ambient soundscapes that create a blurry mood, a feeling rather than an idea. Then, to give substance to their music, they invite the singers to add a little poetry, enough to sink their hearing teeth. But the lyrics are thin as paper, so it’s best to follow the way the music moves you and not think about what they say. Here the medium is the message.

And that’s what the concert looked like. Unfortunately, I am a mental person. My ears and my brain have a lot of teeth and need something to sink them into. It’s hard for me to let go and move. But I enjoyed all the movement around me – humanity swirling, dipping and spinning with every beat that came from the stage. Everyone was having a good time.

As I suspected, just watching a man on stage press the buttons on a box isn’t captivating live entertainment. There were two drummers and a bassist, but these don’t do a gig. Even the long, thin-haired bassist in an electric blue velvet casual suit, strutting across the stage as if he had so much more to express than his bass guitar would allow, wasn’t enough to justify the price of the ticket.

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