Concert review: Thievery Corporation at The Ritz Ybor (photos + video)

[image-1]The long-haired barefoot bassist, Ashish Vyas, kept a solid and steady groove all throughout, and had the coolest, most content expression I've ever seen on a musician, even wearing his little half-smile when he came out during the third encore dressed in nothing but a pair of red bikini briefs and an electric bass. Guitarist Robbie Myers added the occasional solo and various textures, and also showed off his skills on sitar, bringing a classical Indian feel to the heady music. Two sets of percussion players were set up on either side of the DJ platform (Frank Orrall and El John), bringing an organic and sometime tribal feel to the rhythms, and a pair of horn players on sax (Frank Mitchell) and trumpet (Dave Finnell) were situated on the left for a bit of jaunty brassiness.


[image-2]Entering in and out as songs demanded was a revolving cast of multi-cultural vocalists, all with their own world flavor: Iranian-French-DC singer Lou Lou, delicate and sweet; Jamaican life of the party Sista Pat, strong and sultry; Brazilian songstress Karina Zeviani, spirited and bilingual; Natalia Clavier, yearning and haunting; Sleepy Wonder, rapping, toasting or singing with reggae-flavored soul; and Zambia native Sitali, who usually joined Sleepy with his own rap-singing, although admittedly, I saw him perform the least of anyone that night.


During the second encore, singer Natalia Clavier asked “Tampa, would you mind if we always love you?” and the band launched into the down-tempo drama of the song, with flames rising on the steel screens at their backs. By the time they returned for encore number three – “This is something we never do,” Garza told us – I’d seen the band play for a solid 40 minutes and was glad that despite dropping in late, I got a tast of the worldtronica high. And when Sleepy Wonder started pulling ladies onto the stage for a big dancetastic finale, I knew there were going to be some very happy people there who would never forget this night. I wouldn't forget it either, and you can be sure I'll be on time the next time they returned to town.


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Sleepy Wonder


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Robbie Meyers


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Karina and Natalia


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Sista Pat


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Ladies on the stage


(COMPLETE PHOTO GALLERY TO COME)


Here are a few video clips from the show.




The dance party was in full swing by the time we made it to the Ritz Theater in Ybor City a little after 11 p.m. last Saturday, October 10, right at the tail end of Thievery Corporation’s set. In fact, they launched into the last song as we threaded our way through the thick crowd of sweaty, blissfully writhing bodies. The place was packed, everyone seemed to be having a blast, and you could tell the adrenaline was still running on high when the band said their goodbyes. The cheers hadn't yet dissipated when Thievery Corporation returned to the stage for an encore. And then another. And then another. [All photos by Phil Bardi; bassist Ashish Vyas and singer Natalia Clavier pictured left]

There were a lot of players up there adding their own unique essences to the vibrant, driving worldtronica. DJ Rob Garza [pictured below, after the jump] provided the foundation, spinning mid-tempo backbeats on a raised platform behind a long, horizontal LED screen, at his back a huge rig with vertical lights that blasted different washes of bright color at key moments, and two vertical LED screens on either side of the rig, with all three of the LED screens displaying images and animations on their textured surfaces. (Eric Hilton, Garza's producer partner-in-crime, was absent when I got there, and I don’t know if I just missed him, but he never showed for the rest of the set.)

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