TV on the Radio: Live Last Night

Live Last Night

TV on the Radio is one of today's great rock-and-roll bands. TV on the Radio is also one of today's many mediocre art-rock bands. But the former is starting to overpower the latter and the best moments of the Brooklyn group's sold-out show at the 9:30 club Monday night showcased a brand of frenzied, soulful rock catharsis that countless bands strive for but few achieve.

The quintet, touring as a sextet with an additional saxophonist/percussionist, has always paid painstaking attention to every detail of its layered soundscapes on record. Some of those nuances, whether it was David Sitek's shimmering guitar or the gospel harmonies of Tunde Adebimpe and Kyp Malone, were audible during Monday's show, the first of consecutive sold-out nights at the venue.

But it was the more primal moments when the band seemed to be truly without peer. On songs such as "The Wrong Way," "Dancing Choose" and especially "Wolf Like Me," the guitars, sax, keyboard, drums and Adebimpe's forceful vocals congealed into a swirling cauldron of electro-soul-rock bliss. The tornado-like intensity of those songs was thrilling; the band was able to flex its considerable rock muscle without sacrificing its experimental identity.

(Read the rest of the review after the jump.)

To keep that intensity for the entirety of the set would have been too much to ask and would have lessened the impact of the peaks. "DLZ" and "Golden Age" served as ideal come-down numbers, adding a futuristic funk vibe to the mix.

Adebimpe has come into his own as one of the best frontmen around. On the slower, more meandering numbers his voice was captivating enough to serve as a focal point. When the band revved things up he was a howling, pogoing ball of energy, impossible to look away from. Unless, of course, you couldn't pull your gaze from Malone's truly singular beard, which soon threatens to engulf the entire eastern seaboard.

When opening act Dirty Projectors -- this week's entry for Best Ever Band From Brooklyn, EVER -- succeeded, it was in the opposite manner of the headliners. Whereas TV on the Radio's highlights occurred when the elements fused into a perfect sonic storm, Dirty Projectors were at their best when sounds plinked off every sound perceptor in your brain. The songs were more slippery than a pig in slop and, sometimes, just as unappealing. Mostly everything meshed well, in a world-music-by-Ivy-Leaguers sort of way, but sometimes it just sounded like the student funk band that scored the 12:15 p.m. slot at the local university's big spring concert.


By David Malitz |  June 9, 2009; 3:16 PM ET Live Last Night
Previous: The Decemberists: Live Last Night | Next: Adam Lambert Is Loud and Proud (and Crushing on Kris Allen); O.A.R.'s Crazy Game of Twitter


Please email us to report offensive comments.

Well I gotta say Malitz, that's actually a pretty fine review.

Posted by: agl132 | June 9, 2009 8:57 PM

Pretty fine reveiw indeed. Pretty fine show on Tuesday too. Halfway Home, Golden Age, and Wolf Like Me consecutively was almost sensory overload.

Posted by: spodankle | June 10, 2009 6:30 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.


© 2010 The Washington Post Company