Sep 132011
Authors: Anna Palmer

The land of the free, built on slavery, our consciousness in captivity. The promise land is the liar’s den. Your culture of greed has got to end.”

The words of this politically-progressive track echoed throughout Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colo. on Aug. 14 as thousands of people gathered to see Thievery Corporation.

Ghostland Observatory, the opening band, seemed to hold much of the spotlight as well, and the crowd enthusiastically cheered as the band finally took the stage after a travel delay.

“I’m more here to see Ghostland,” onlooker Eric Von Christierson commented.

Ghostland’s music has been described as a combination of electro, rock and funk by Christierson said the band’s front vocalist, Aaron Behrens, has even been compared to the lead singer of Queen, Freddie Mercury.

When Thievery Corporation took the stage, a contagious energy continued to spread throughout the diverse crowd of dreadlock wearers, casual concert-goers, fanatic fans and even a man wearing a Gumby suit.

The variety of onlookers seemed to mirror the range of Thievery’s instrumental music selection, which includes the sitar (a plucked stringed instrument), the violin, the saxophone and many other atypical instruments that harmonize in soothing unison.

“Instrumentally, I think they’re really good,” said another onlooker, Lauren Steele. “They use such a wide variety
of instruments.”

The crowd’s energy stabilized as they gently swayed with the rhythmic music that effectively combines multiple stylistic elements including dub, reggae, hip-hop, cocktail/lounge, jazz and funk.

“They cross genres and use multiple vocalists,” said onlooker Josh Easterling.

When asked what one genre they most likely fall into, Easterling categorized them as trip-hop, or down-tempo electronic.

According to a biography on Thievery Corporation, the Washington D.C.-based band was formed in 1995 and consists of recording artist-and-DJ duo, Rob Garza and Eric Hilton, and their broad array of supporting artists. They released their first album, “Sounds From the Thievery Hi-Fi,” just two years later in 1997.

The 15-member group’s lyrics include English, Spanish, French, Persian, Portuguese and Romanian languages.

“They are much worldlier than other music and they talk about things on a higher level,” Easterling said.

Thievery has even used their music to progressively take a stance on political issues, opposing war and exploitive trade agreements, while supporting human rights and food programs such as the World Food Programme.

“We’re probably more radical in our political beliefs than most of the hardcore punk bands,” Hilton said on the band’s website. “But at the same time, we’re realistic about what we can actually do. We feel like our role is to be commentators.”

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