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Saturday, May 23, 2009

TV on the Radio: Diamond Ballroom 5/18

TV on the Radio stomped through the Diamond Ballroom this past Monday. It was not a show to be missed.

            Most music fans are familiar with TVOTR in some facet. Whether unknowingly listening to “Wolf Like Me,” seeing them on Colbert Report, or reading about them in any of the countless “Best of the Year” articles. Their talent is undeniable. Their blend of rock with electro, jazz, and soul is unmistakable. Their performance at the Diamond was unforgettable.

            What TV on the Radio does best is capture the mood of America today. Much like Bruce Springsteen did in the 80’s and Nirvana did in the early 90’s, TVOTR holds that impeccable skill to capture the feeling of being alive in that timeframe. Their music is largely dark and brooding, but what makes it so exceptional is that ability to grasp that light at the end of the tunnel aspect in their music. There’s a very experimental, avant-garde facet to their songs, but being grounded in straightforward song structure makes the music accessible and remarkable.

            TVOTR’s recordings are complex and layered. It’s the quiet subtleties in their music that makes it feel complete. Sprinkled with synths, horns, and other unworldly tones, every release from the band is a music lover’s staple. The ability to translate these tunes to live shows will blow your mind away.

            The night started with Sweden’s Little Dragon warming up the crowd. Though bewildered at first, the crowd quickly grew more embracing of the band’s electronic soul jams. They proved the perfect opener for the maestros waiting backstage.

            The anticipation grew and grew as the stagehands worked to set up the equipment, you cut have cut the tension with a butter knife as the instruments laid their quietly on stage. Then the band hurtled onto the stage. The place erupted.

            The show began with the swirly “Whirlwind” and after some older, deeper cuts, the place really began to shake was the atmospheric “Halfway Home” churned throughout the ballroom. The crowd boogied along to the lively “Golden Age” before a collective shiver went through the spines of all in attendance as they launched into “Wolf Like Me.” We gazed and swayed along to “Love Dog” before “Staring at the Sun” burned through the crowd like a fire. They finished the set with the menacing “DLZ” that burst through the venue like a tornado, feeling as though the roof might just be torn from the foundation at any moment. For an encore Tunde hopped on the stage for a hauntingly beautiful rendition of “Family Tree” before what felt like everyone back stage must have come up for a percussion dominated “A Method.” The night came to a close with “Young Liars” smoldering like embers as the crowd slow drew away.

            Though the Diamond Ballroom’s sound set up was less than suited for the aforementioned subtleness to some of their songs, it was, however, the perfect environment for the grittiness of songs like “DLZ” and “Wolf Like Me.”

            If you want a glimpse of what music is all about, make sure to catch TV on the Radio the next time the whirl through. I promise you won’t ever forget it.

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