Progentelechy

Placebo frees maggot brains; Uncle Jam's ass doesn't follow

Tunde Adebimpe opened his half of this intriguing BAM double bill with a whistle. The TV on the Radio frontman let the noise linger, indulgently easing into "Young Liars," no grind before its time. It's a song about fear, and Adebimpe's voice is perfectly suited to it—first as a yelp, and later as an analgesic. His band makes the same startling leaps. Abetted by a crack four-piece horn section, TVOTR are finally learning to fill all the space their spastic ideas earn them. Even at their most proggy, they never once seemed anything less than assured—the horn stabs on "Wrong Way"; the pogo dancing throughout; the imposition of percussive eccentricity onto indie rock. Ending a show in a drum circle would doom most bands to jam-band purgatory; TVOTR made it into a humble devotional.

The guy who helms the Mothership opened his set with a whistle, too, but it was a shrill burst, an attention grabber, because the hair and the songs don't quite do it anymore. The P-Funk All-Stars had been playing for longer than the opener's set when Daddy finally found the stage. Tired, lax, saddled by the weight of his sheer shaman-ness (or, you know, other things), George Clinton is an excuse, a pretense, a means to an end, a meal ticket. Half of the ample band made history three decades ago, and the other half knows it. The results, unfolding no less leisurely than a Phish set, were blurry and grim. "Flashlight" sparkled with the promise of a reprieve, as did some of the moments that promised gospel over funk, but mostly their set careened wildly from one catchphrase to the next. The crowd cheered reflexively at each one, lending new meaning to "Somethin' Stink and I Want Some."

Roofs were not shorn. Minds were not freed. By midset, Clinton took back ownership of "Get Low," with an extra helping of skeet and, dare I say, some attitude. Maybe the check wasn't big enough, or maybe he felt momentarily entitled. In either case: Lil Jon, I have seen thy future. Best to, how they say, diversify your bonds.

 
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