Friday, June 12, 2009

Live Review: TV On The Radio

June 11, 2009
TV On The Radio at Amos' Southend
Charlotte, N.C.

Band Rating: 9.0
Venue Rating: 5.0

So I'm staring Kyp Malone (above) in the face.

The TV On The Radio bassist and vocalist, who is not unlike a panda bear in appearance, has a Frederick Douglass-style beard and he's wearing what looks like a tunic.

His band has just put on a solid and occasionally great show marred by subpar acoustics.

I'm in this business to interview rock stars and listen to great music, but oddly enough, the only thing I can think to say to one of the architects of 2008's best LP (see Dear Science) is, "Great show!"

"Thank you," he replies, smiling shyly. He shuffles his feet for a moment, hugs an excited fan, and walks nervously back to the band's tour bus.

Amazing that one of the most overwhelming records in a decade comes from such a muted guy.

All personality quips aside, TVOTR's stopover in Charlotte (they're scheduled to play today at Bonnaroo) is a rare treat for a city that can't seem to find the right venue for the medium-range acts who tend to make the best records these days.

Respect to Amos' Southend for bringing the group here, although the squat, two-story building with the muddy equalization did little for TVOTR's very fetching sound.

The set list hit the highlights of the Brooklyn band's ever-expanding sound, which runs the gamut of Joy Division stomp to Radiohead atmospherics and Parliamentary funk.

Playing live, TVOTR uses the opportunity to stretch out on their moody tunes, which didn't coalesce into something resembling pop music until last year's aforementioned and truly outstanding Dear Science.

The band opened with the tender "Love Dog" before whipping up frenzied takes on "Wolf Like Me" and "Halfway Home."

Throughout, frontman Tunde Adebimpe blew out the be-hoodied hipsters with his elastic, Arthur Lee-style tenor and frantic stage presence.

If you can hear TVOTR - and by that I mean, hear them without shoddy acoustics - you'll hear a great band with a big future.

Here's hoping Charlotte can find more places to fit rising stars like Malone, Adebimpe and company.

- SoR

1 comment:

Chris said...

what'd you think of the dirty projectors? their new album is soooo good.