20 Mar

Perfection found: Thievery Corporation

A little while ago, on a Saturday night, I cried a lil’. I know, that’s not a first timer, I’m not exactly the most macho of male human beings. But nevertheless, it still came quite unexpected. Even for me. Luckily, the reason was the best one possible. And the sudden emotional outburst wasn’t related to something deplorable.

I was at a Thievery Corporation gig in Brussels. Part of their 20th Anniversary tour, during which they are promoting their newest album ‘The Temple of I & I’. It was around the fourth track into the set – the irresistible ‘Letter to the Editor’ – that this incredible sense of happiness came to overwhelm me. Being at that venue, with that amazing band and with an overt enthusiast crowd of dancing people around me, I felt in a very intense way that I didn’t want to be anywhere else that night. This was different. This was special. This was happiness poured all over and out of me in large quantities.

This unexpected emotional outpouring obviously surprised me. But then again, it didn’t really. Allow me to explain (myself).


I have a problem. A big, undeniable and often quite annoying problem. One that is chasing me in all aspects of my life. Be it work, be it pleasure, be it love, I have the tendency to strive for perfection. And an unstoppable craving to have all of the boxes checked. Even when that proves to be impossible. Something which is obviously often the case. But not that Saturday night. Thát night I managed to get really close to that so desired perfection. Hence, the resulting outburst of happiness. And the embarrassment of the moist eyes.

Thievery Corporation

I should have known though. I had attended a Thievery Corporation concert before. It was in Toronto during my – I’m sure you didn’t see this one coming – Canadian days. Yes, I lived a while in what I to this day still consider to be the best country in the world. And not only for the musical geniuses, they tend to raise over there. For the record: Neil Young, The Tragically Hip, Richie Hawtin, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchel, … shall I continue?

Whilst living in Canada and on a beautiful Toronto evening I had the pleasure to dance the night away on the groovy sounds of Washington DC boys Rob Garza and Eric Hilton and their fine selection of contributing guests. It was a concert I would later on refer to as ‘legendary’ and this to anyone who asked me about it. And to those who didn’t ask me about it too. As a result, some of their classic songs got firmly stuck in my head and heart.

The concert

Positioned in one of the front rows of the beautiful Ancienne Belgique venue and in the company of the best of friends, I was eagerly waiting for the concert to start. When it kicked off with Radio Retaliation’s ‘Forgotten People’,  it immediately unfolded the best sound I had heard in a long long time. An immaculate start for the rollercoaster that was ready to accelerate.

And oh boy were we in for a rollercoaster. Over the years the Thieves have established a diversity of tracks in genres such as lounge, trip hop, jazz, dub, funk, reggae, dancehall, bossa nova and soul. And even some other ones. As a consequence the concert switched faster between styles than the orange colored leader of the bad wig world can state stupidities. Really fast. And thus a lot of my musical boxes got ticked off. Something to which the excellent line-up of singers was contributing to substantially.

And so it became a fantastic night. The crisp sound. The handling of the instruments (that sitar! that bass!). The vocals were energetic at one moment, seductive at another.  The energy that was passed onto the crowd and the response that that one returned. And all of that orchestrated by a group of artists who knew very well what they were doing. Which was getting me, my friends and a completely filled venue dancing and sweaty.

It was – here I go again – beautiful and perfect.

The setlist

You know a gig blew you away if you’re desperately trying to obtain the setlist afterward.

New album

As mentioned earlier, Thievery Corporation has recently released a new album, ‘The Temple of I & I’. May I urge you to give the heavily reggae-influenced record a listen? I promise that it will get you grooving and shaking in no time. In addition to that: checking out older albums like ‘The Mirror Conspiracy’, ‘The Richest Man in Babylon’, ‘The Cosmic Game’ and actually the whole of their back catalog remains a very wise idea too.

Photo credits: Enfnts Terribles


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