Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Little Bit Dangerous

There are some bands that take the stage, and immediately the sound hits you hard and you know it's going to be great.

TV on the Radio did it better.

I love the RCMH banner! Next time I'll get a proper picture.

The silhouettes of the five band members came left of stage and the sound of instruments gearing up began to the cheers of the crowd.

"Hello?" came questioning through the darkness from Tunde Adebimpe, as if the booming home city welcome was not loud enough to be heard.

A second questioning "Hello" was met with even more adoring fanfare... Satisfied, a sigh of relief and an excited "Hello" was made for the third and final time, all the while the drone of instruments heightened the buzzing anticipation of the crowd.

It was a great opening, followed by a sometimes crazily played set of hits and new tracks from the recently released "Nine Types of Light".

I went in blind and it is something I do not usually do.  In fact, there's not much I know about TvotR which is surprising for me.  If I like a band, I tend to get pretty attached to personalities, and back catalogues - neither of which I did.  I was in love with 2008's "Dear Science", and listened to "Return to Cookie Mountain" but did nothing beyond that.  It's shameful, truly and I regretted.

There's just so much more excitement for you when you like a song, or know it (and the same can be said of songs you hate and wish never to hear, and you get completely disappointed when played).

Here, I definitely discovered some songs that were so electric that I must go forth and purchase.  It could very well be that the live version is that much cooler as I suspect but that's how impressive some of the tracks were.

While not every song struck a chord with me (a little unintentional music humour! Humour me? I'll quit before further embarrassment), and not everything sounded as sharp as certain other songs in the set list, it cannot be said that TV on the Radio put on a dull show.

The TV on the Radio @ Radio City Music Hall on 4/13/2011 Set List:

Young Liars
The Wrong Way
Caffeinated Consciousness
Dancing Choose
Blues From Down
Will Do
Staring at the Sun
Wolf Like Me


Red Dress

The Low Lamps:

1. I have never been to Williamsburg.  There may be some food out there that I absolutely must try in the future but for now, I would like to consider myself fortunate enough to not have had the misfortune of being amongst a sea of hipsters.  But that was until Wednesday night when it just seemed as all of Williamsburg came to RCMH.  It was a puzzling, jarring experience.

It's one thing to sit in a dark hall focusing on the band and not really having to pay attention to an entire sea of people (just the occasional jerk in your section) but while I was waiting for my new frenemy Bobolinkies to make an appearance, I was forced to stand outside.  And as I stood there, hipster after hipster walked by and assaulted my eyes.

I also do not know what's worse, the fact that I was surrounded by hipsters, or that hipsters sitting next to us tried to talk to us.  And they were nice.  I feel dirty having even said that.  It's all part of some evil hipster scheme, I reckon.  I won't be suckered in.

2. The Opening Act.  Alright Light Asylum, your sound was decent you know? But your flash back to the 80s and the vocals - oh no.  NO! Don't do that again.  I hope to never see you again.  Sure, you were not as bad as some hellish things I've seen for support, but

3. Sometimes...and just sometimes! TVotR just...had some sort of distortion going on.  Aside from the hilarious technical difficulties which plagued them all night (saved every time by Dan the Roadie, who they really do not know how they'd exist without, they said), it's awfully difficult to reproduce songs live when there's so much technical layering and complicated beats going on in any given TVotR song.

There's a lot to try to rope in and make sound tight but sometimes, it just ends up one mess of a tangled nightmare that is thrown at your face and you're left trying to unravel it all.  For instance, the end of "Crying" (great track! even better on the telepathe remix!) sounded like technical jargon to me.  It's an already hard, weird song at the end and it just did not translate well live.  For a moment, I was lost as the song became lost.

4. The worst thing I have ever done happened on Wednesday and it was that I did not stay for the entire show.  In my short concert history, I have never missed a show from start to end.  Part of the crazy fun even if it's not that fun in the moment, is the racing to catch a train.  I was not feeling so well that night, and I did not want to have to catch a really late train as with Interpol.  I...didn't stay for the encore.  I know! I know! I missed "Red Dress" and other greatness... it was sad but now I can properly time myself accordingly next time there's a show at RCMH.

Which reminds me, those bastards came on really late! If they took the stage earlier, this could have been avoided too.

5. So, I actually managed to get my good camera into the show.  There was an almost snafu of being told no at the door but it was fine.  Except my new lens just for this occasion was, while excellent in low light settings, and clear as day, did not want to zoom and virtually has no great zoom.  My seats were not that awesome.  I was not terribly close to the stage, nor was I terribly far.  I was not near enough for fabulous shots.  Ah well.  At least now I know the lens works great.

The Highlights:

1. The Set list.  Alright, so maybe I wanted a lot more "Dear Science" because it is just a very clever album, but I missed that I cannot really complain.  I'll complain anyway...but at least I discovered new songs to love.

2. "Repetition".  The new album only came out the day before the concert, and I limited myself to listening to the album just once in the morning of.  The first half of the album on first listen, I did not care for as much as the second half.  The songs were slower, but the vocals were quite odd and quite good.  But then I got to the song "Repetition" and I immediately loved it.  When it was played at RCMH, it began with the lead saying that there was 'a little bit of danger' in the next song and then into this fantastic track.

A flashing red siren in the middle of the stage on top of the mixer, ended the song but from the beginning to the flashing red, the performance was nothing short of brilliant.  I would go back to see them just to hear that song if I could.

A little bit dangerous
3. TV on the Radio.  Despite some sound issues I had as discussed previously, I was pleasantly surprised at how great they sounded when they were at their best.  I was more than just pleasantly surprised, I was incredibly impressed.  They were unexpectedly heavy - a full on rock band with a barrel full of funk.  It was amazing.  Perhaps I should not have been as amazed as I was considering just how experimental rock they are but it still hit hard live.

As a band, I found their personalities engaging and their music ten times that.  They were exciting even during the moments of rest with slower songs, which were not that frequent.  There was something that could be appreciated at all times, but I also wonder if they were this on during their RCMH appearance then I would love to be at a smaller venue show.

Memorable Quotes of the Evening:

Bobolinkies: This one sounds dancey fancy!

Memorable Moment of the Evening: 

You know what else was good this night, which was not concert related? I think there may be a dumpling discovery.  Beetchie, they were not as large or as good as the hideaway in Brooklyn but I must say, these are the best I've had in midtown or most places at least.  The skin is thin at Pearls.  Thin skin...! We all know thin skin makes for a better dumpling...

Not a good picture but trust me, the crisp on those things was fabulous.
Shrimp dumplings in a sesame sauce.  They totally grew on me.  Quite good.
Roast duck noodle soup - I like.  Light, and plentiful on the duck.  It's cheap Chinatown quality fair which is the best kind you can get.
Fellow 3DS Cool Kids Met Via Streetpass at RCHM: 1 (one)

Currently listening to: "Repetition" by TV on the Radio.

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