Review: 11/7 Garth Trinidad, Thievery Corporation, and Massive Attack @ the Gibson Amphitheater @ LA 101

(written 11/11/10 for MojaMoja)

It was a cultured Sunday Funday at the Gibson Amphitheater last Sunday, 11/7, thanks to LA Weekly’s LA 101. The mini LA music fest started at 2pm with food trucks, vendor booths, and a KCRW stage taking over the front of the Gibson. (Obviously there was a Heineken tent where lounging was encouraged along with a huge bar for the crowd where they could purchase giant strawberry daiquiri’s shaped like guitars.) KCRW DJ’s kept the party going all day long while attendees could play games you would find at any carnival. There were ping pong tables, bean bag tosses, and other fun games to easily make some new friends. It was at 5:30 pm when the real party started…because our very own Garth Trinidad took over the ones and twos. Obviously he brought on bumpin’ beats with a very unique mix of Latin/World sounds, some dub, lots of sexy electro, and threw in some crowd pleasin’ hip hop jams. The grass dance area comprised of a very mixed crowd of people all moving to Garth’s beats together. There were hula hoops, feathers, capes, tights, dads, big hair, boots, swag, leather, and your average blue jeans. But of course, how can Garth not throw in a personal touch to end the show, prefacing the song with, “I used to play this for all the ladies back then.” Garth’s finale choice was the 80’s hit, “Promises, Promises” by Naked Eyes. Oh Garth ;)
It was then that the crowd slowly finished their outside drinks to purchase new ones in the theater. It was time to be jammi-fied by Thievery Corporation. Vocalists Sleepy Wonder, Roots, Zeebo, and the cheetah print-skirted Sista Pat pumped up the crowd right away with the band’s talented DJ’s Rob Garza and Eric Hilton taking us to India and Jamaica with sounds of sitars and bongo drums. Sleepy Wonder–in a Nehru jacket, a safari hat, dreads, and slacks controlled the crowd with his vibrant energy.They even did a rendition of “Bustin’ Loose”! A huge crowd pleaser was when Perry Farrell came out to perform “Revolution Solution.” Throughout the whole set, despite the lively action going on inthe front stage, I could not help but notice the bobbing heads of the main music producers themselves (Rob Garza and Eric Hilton) bobbing their heads.

After intermission, Massive Attack changed the ambiance of the amphitheater with their dark sounds and very political backdrop. LED video screens literally spelled out a wide variety of global atrocities, from the number of executions in various countries to the staggering costs for America to occupy countries like Afghanistan. One saying being “CA looked for a greener future in Prop 19.” and the like. Massive Attack’s vocalists all were so captivating with their very unique, and sometimes erie vocals. Daddy G and 3-D gave a flawless performance and held true to their dark, shadowy style in the most professional way. Guests like longtime Tricky collaborator Martina Topley-Bird gave a very slow, deep rendition of their hit “Teardrop”. It was a harsh, apocalyptic set that also featured the band’s perennial voice/light in the darkness, Horace Andy, on songs like “Girl, I Love You.” Behind them, satirical phrases like “Meg Whitman Seen Auditioning For American Idol” scrolled between more and more statements. They were funny, dark, deep, emotional, and made you think amidst the being captured by the dark, deep, and low sounds of the band. The absorbing set ended with 3-D flailing around the stage in front of video screens blasting a numbing series of corporate logos, with emphasis on British Pacific. With as much as the backdrop threw at America, they at least saved the final (and harshest) social criticisms for their own country, the UK. It was a show unlike any other. Reminder from “Teardrop”: “Love is a doing word.”
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