The day after the release of their somewhere between very good and great new album, TV On The Radio took over Radio City Music hall and over and above taking a "holy shit moment' were on cruise control for what amounted to an hour and a quarter set in a two hour venue.
Never mind, what was their was even great from time time, an opening of "Young Liars", "The Wrong Way" and "Caffeinated Consciousness" was topped immediately by a percolating "Dancing Choose" such a syncopated pop it had me searching my rock and roll thesaurus.
TVOTR, if you don't know em, are a sutured rock and funk band with a tingeful experimental edge. At the gig I wrote these names:
And earlier you could hear other names, echoes of harmolodics and Brooklyn bridge like they all hung out at summer camp and met again in college with paperback copies of Malcolm X and Nietche.
But not last night.
Last night they were a tight modern rock band, and the new album presented them as such. if you take away all the videos and the hoop de doo, what you get is a handful of really, really good modern love songs, presented as straightforward as possible.
They are a group but on stage they are group lead by lead singer Tunde Adebimpe, a limber dancer with a great falsetto and a pretty damn good whistler as well. Sitek, Tunde, they are background to him.And while he is all of that, he also ISN'T a Prince or even a Sly Stone, his ego is in check and he is charming but not quite charismatic.
TVOTR handle the ineluctable very well, they dig deep and can hand out an aphorism, they gel as a band very, very well. Their closeness comes thru and that makes em a blast to watch. But for a band with such a big and honestly beautiful sound, there is something slight about them. Even the length of the set felt slight. This effected the mid-set… don't get me wrong, none of it was boring, but none of the mid-set got beyond very good and it took a good "Crying" a request for more keyboards, a song and a brilliant "Repetition" before main set ender, a better than on record, set highlight, "Wolf Like me' to get the audience bonkers for the first time since the beginning.
The last three songs. the night was fine. These guys are a major rock band,. I would go again tonight. But the set was a little slight, minor key, less than a dazzling affair.
It really was very good… although no "Lover's Day" or "Golden Age"… but then what?
I know I'm going around in circles here. I did like it lots and lots. I wish I liked it more.
ps i took the pix off brooklynvegan
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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – December 1980 (Volume 12, Number 7)
Boy Howdy! did Susan Whitall put together a solid team of writers
its own glammy road not travelled
“This was his best performance ever.”
his best song since “I Will See You In Far Off Places”
expected series of punk veterans
I have this thing where I get older but just never wiser
Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – November 1980 (Volume 12, Number 6)
an almost indefinable purity