Review: TV on the Radio turn up the volume, energy at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg
Descriptions of TV on the Radio usually begin with “arty” and end with “intelligent,” or vice versa, with “innovative” and the occasional “complex” tossed in for good measure.
All of which are true, but none of which conveys the fact that these guys rock, and in a not particularly self-conscious way.
The rocking element may be measured out more sparingly on disc or download, but live, as illustrated Saturday night at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg, it’s applied much more liberally.
Opener Halfway Home sounded like a distorted, electro-sibling of the Ramones’ I Wanna Be Sedated, complete with lead singer Tunde Adebimpe’s “ba ba ba” vocals.
The Wrong Way followed, its relentless beat furthering the punk rock connection, while Caffeinated Consciousness was rousing enough to bring whole stadiums full of fans to their feet, should the band’s fortunes lead that way.
Even Staring at the Sun, brooding and hypnotic on record, surged with anthem-like fervor.
Performance-wise, the band has weathered the loss of bassist Gerard Smith, who died from lung cancer in April. Drummer Jaleel Bunton has moved to bass and keyboards. The remaining quartet – including guitarist-singer Kyp Malone and guitarist Dave Sitek – was augmented by a drummer and a trombonist.
Malone spelled Adebimpe on vocals, his falsetto spurring on the funky Golden Age. Red Dress also showed supple rhythmic muscle, the trombone filling in for the recorded version’s horn section. The song peaked in a fusion of funk and feedback, with flashing lights turned on the crowd.
Wolf Like Me (in the video above) brought the main portion of the set to a close with a hard slam. The encore began with the pessimistic but powerful DLZ, but ended on a more hopeful note with Satellite, with Adebimpe leading the crowd on a chant of “one, two, three, light.”
-- Curtis Ross, tbt*