Tuesday, November 11, 2008

TV on the Radio. The Wiltern, Los Angeles. November 6, 2008.

There's not much to say about TV on the Radio that you haven't already read (or, for that matter, heard firsthand). Their live show is so incredibly different from their recordings - without the precision of sound that comes with a production job, on stage they are far more energetic, spontaneous and powerful. Regardless of how many times they've performed "Staring at the Sun" to an audience, it will always come out as more of a dance tune on stage. Regardless of how many audiences have seen a live rendition of "The Wrong Way," Tunde Adebimpe will frantically hop as fast as its beat will go. This was the case in 2005, and it's the case in 2008.

There was a fair variety of album coverage, actually with a lack of emphasis on recent release Dear Science, "Halfway Home" and "Dancing Choose" arriving a little later and sort of blending in, with only the latter, it seemed, earning the same enthusiasm as a particularly passionate "Young Liars" as opener, or Return to Cookie Mountain's "Wolf Like Me." The band was joined onstage by a brass section that included sax player Stuart Bogie of Antibalas, who ran a happy lap around the stage during "The Wrong Way," and invited up openers the Dirtbombs to round out their vast percussion ensemble for an encore performance of "A Method."

The Dirtbombs themselves, for such a band of badasses, are actually quite square. And that's kind of cute. The "Frere Jacque" opening riff of their "Underdog" cover never gets old (and almost sounds more deep and dark on Mick Collins' guitar than on the Sly and the Family Stone original). Their dueling drummers, respectively a teddy bear and a literal whistleblower, eventually shared the hell out of one drum kit until nearly all other equipment from the band's set had been taken down. And though the majority of the gorgeous, thick glasses-donning, crappy beer- and fruity concoction-drinking audience had come for the excellent TV on the Radio, the Dirtbombs fared quite well in such a large venue.

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