TV on the Radio
November 22, 2004
BY MARTY GARNER
When computers take over the world(it’s inevitable), the ones with soul will make TV on the Radio. But until that happens, Tunde Adebimpe, Kyp Malone, and David Andrew Sitek make TV on the Radio, and the human world is much better for it.
Shortlist winnin‘, Brooklyn reppin’, electro-funkin’
TV on the Radio stepped onto the small stage at
Twiropa Monday night and saved the world. Their
impossible to define sound, which is beat-oriented on record, benefited greatly from organic instrumentation, including live drums and bass. The live show wasn't necessarily better than their recorded work (last year’s "Young Liars" EP and this year’s
"Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes"), just completely different. Distorted bass and heavy drumming gave the songs a punkier feel and a sense of urgency which was not found in their recorded work. Even the more ambient material (“Dreams," “Ambulance”) seemed more poetic than its recorded counterpart.
What was truly impressive about TVOTR was their
execution. Adebimpe and Malone(you know, the one with the afro and huge beard) harmonized like a choir from Blade Runner despite awful monitor work. They blasted through a set of ten or so songs with the intensity of Bad Brains and the precision of Radiohead. For “Ambulance," Sitek gave up his guitar to the drummer and beatboxed a soft beat over whisper-quiet
guitars while Adebimpe quietly proclaimed, “I will be your accident if you will be my ambulance.” After the violent blister that was the rest of the set, “Ambulance” stuck out in the best way possible. Though TVOTR get plenty of press, not enough is said about the soul in Adebimpe and Malone’s voices. The former’s leads and the latter’s falsetto blended to form one singular, dreamy voice.
When the group closed with “Satellite," all hell broke loose in Twiropa. I have never seen an
indie crowd actually let their guard down and dance like they did last night. Everyone stopped wondering what everyone else was thinking and just let go. The crowd actually chanted, “Two more songs!“ after the initial set, prompting the group to return to the stage for an encore. It is this trait that sets TV on the Radio apart from other New York bands. Rather than focusing on being cool, they just made fun, intelligent music which allowed their crowd to break loose. In a musical world dominated by bands who can be described with the math equation of “Band 1 + Band 2’s early work," TV on the Radio shone a digital flashlight forward.