Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Live review: TV on the Radio

Posted By on Wed, Jun 17, 2009 at 11:17 AM

TV on the Radio w/ Dirty Projectors

Amos' Southend

June 11, 2009

The Deal: TV on the Radio played Amos’ Southend with openers Dirty Projectors.

The Good: Any sincere music lover will admit to one truth – never say never. In order for musical tastes to evolve, as they always do, one must be willing to maintain an open mind, to give sounds that once aggravated the ear drums a chance to insert themselves in the psyche. Anyone who’s ever hated the first listen of a particular album only to love it a few weeks later knows what I’m talking about. The same holds true for bands in general. Such is the case with my relationship with TV on the Radio. In 2006, I saw them live after hearing bits and pieces from their earlier albums. The live show, as is often the case, was the deciding factor for this listener. They bored me immensely; I merely waited for my beloved cape-wearing Goths, Bauhaus and their kin, the headlining Nine Inch Nails to take the stage.


In 2008, TV on the Radio released Dear Science which I listened to with my usual cynicism. To my surprise, I enjoyed it much more than I had their previous work. I went to the show with limited knowledge of the band but excited by the possibility of giving our relationship another shot. Amos’ was packed, hot and moist when they finally went on stage. Sitting on a shelf meant for drinks, I had a great view of the stage and the heaving collective that was the crowd. They played a good deal off their latest album, but what surprised me the most was my reaction to the older material.


My favorite songs of the night were, by far, “Satellite” and “Staring at the Sun” both off their 2003 album, Young Liars. They had energy, owed in part to the brilliant drumming of Jaleel Bunton and dynamism of singer, Tunde Adebimpe. I’m no dancer but these two had me bouncing on that 12 inch shelf like an idiot. The crowd’s reaction equaled my own.

The Bad: There are still songs that lose me. “Stork and Owl” and parts of “Dirty Whirl” grate on my nerves at times, but I yield to the evolution of a unique and highly entertaining band.

While I enjoyed TV on the Radio for the most part, I cannot say the same for the openers, Dirty Projectors. The critics, including the notorious haters at Pitchfork, seem to love their latest album Bitte Orca, but I am not a fan of experimentation for the sake of experimentation. Dave Longstreth is said to be “one of indie rock’s most divisive voices,” and you will receive no argument from me there. I simply cannot understand why he would sing, or why it sounded like everyone was playing different songs. One audience member claimed this was her “favorite band ever” while I just wished for something to throw to make the cacophony cease. I can see why Bjork is both a fan and collaborator with these folks. She is quoted as saying, “There is so much character and individuality in their music.” I don’t disagree, but that doesn’t mean what they’re doing sounds good.

The Verdict: Something happened to both me and the band over the last few years to change my opinion of them. Once again, the live show was the deciding factor. This time their dynamic performance won me over; so, while TV on the Radio may not be one of my favorites, I have grown to like them immensely. I cannot say the same for Dirty Projectors.

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