Lunchtime Review: TV on the Radio Live at the Glasshouse 4/14/2009

 

[Listen to this with the sound turned down]

Last night Rossy and I dropped off the baby at her grandparents’ house and drove to Pomona to see rock band TV on the Radio. We had quite a bit of fun, and it was apparent that the band had a lot of fun as well.

TVOTR was there in full force with the core 5 members plus a 3-man horn section (sax/clarinet, trumpet, baritone sax) AND studio member Katrina Ford backing them up on vocals. It was quite an event, seeing them packed into the Glasshouse stage with a bunch of guitars and a not-unimpressive array of electronics. The horn players were especially entertaining, as it looked like the latter two of them had been recently hired. The baritone sax player looked especially out of place, sporting an interesting goatee, braided pigtails (manly pigtails) and wearing a grey suit with a black open-collared shirt. With the rest on stage dressed simply in tshirt and jeans, he looked out of place. He also looked out of place because he seemed sort of impressed and bemused by the music–not like someone who has played these songs a thousand times.

They opened with Halfway Home, the opener of their newest album, Dear Science. The setlist focused mostly on newer songs, with a bunch of old favorites as well. They closed with Staring at the Sun, when I took the video above. I don’t have a definitive setlist, but I am pretty confident that they played the following songs:

Crying
Golden Age
Family Tree
Red Dress
Dancing Choose
DLZ
Young Liars
The Wrong Way
Blind
Wolf Like Me
A Method

There was a lot of energy but not much movement in the crowd, though there definitely were some people clapping, singing and moving along with the music. There was also someone who shouted out “freebird”, so, like I say, it was not an entirely enthusiastic crowd. (Seriously? If you’re shouting out “freebird” at a concert, you need to rethink why you are there.) One of my favorite parts of the night was the version of The Wrong Way, which they played with a punk level of speed and intensity.TVOTR tore through the song, wailing on their guitars and yelling themselves ragged. It was quite a sight to see. If you get a chance to see TV on the Radio any time soon, please take it. They’re absolute monsters live, recreating their dense songs using all live instrumentation and playing for all they’re worth.

Openers Free Moral Agents were also really good. Isaiah “Ikey” Owens is from, among other bands, The Mars Volta, but he was pretty clearly the leader of this outfit. They threw together a dubby vibe with a healthy dose of psych, strenuous afro-beat drumming and a lady singing with what I can only describe as an L.A. voice. More info on them here.

 

Below: TV on the Radio’s Dear Science, which you need to hear