TV on the Radio
Radio City Music Hall, New York City
April 13, 2011
Aural Highlight: The tepid build-up and percussive blast-off of opener “Young Liars.”
Visual Highlight: The drunk hurling of light-up drink stirrers at the stage as the crowd waited for an encore. (Seriously, why do they give these plastic weapons out at shows?)
Obligatory Viral Moment: The square Wall Street suit doing a Jersey Shore fist pump all night.
Best Show Ever Index: 20%. It was clear fans wanted to be there, but tough to gauge just how much.
Could we have seen just a little more enthusiasm from the folks in the crowd at TV on the Radio’s Radio City show last night? The band is from your own Brooklyn backyard. This was their first-ever gig at the storied venue. They released an album this week — Nine Types of Light. It’s good. Really.
That’s not to say the evening was void of celebration. Everyone marveled along as frontman Tunde Adebimpe asked fans to join him in a “holy shit” moment as they took in the Radio City spectacle; obvious crowd-pleasers like funky hip-shaker “Wolf Like Me” and pounding drums driving “Staring at the Sun” got concertgoers appropriately riled up.
“This is a jumping song. Feel free to jump, but not if you’re on a balcony,” a be-hatted Adebimpe joked before launching into new album tune “Caffeinated Consciousness.” The pace-shifting rocker fell victim to a poor vocal mix, which unfortunately was a recurring issue throughout the night, but the energy remained intact.
“You” and “Will Do” — two new songs among the most sensitive and mellow songs in TV on the Radio’s repertoire — maintained that softness to a bolder degree, the latter coalescing into sonic arrangements bigger than the sum of its parts. “Repetition” swayed in the exact opposite direction, a guitar swam led by Kyp Malone’s axe swelling so huge you’d swear it was the culprit when a keyboard stand was knocked over.
Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babe’s “The Wrong Way” and Return to Cookie Mountain’s “Province” took fans back to the art-rockers of yore, a reminder where the band came from and how four diverse full-lengths in, they still are at the front of their own experimental pack.
Now, if we could just get the audience to follow suit.