TV On The Radio
Brooklyn Masonic Temple
October 14, 2008
Playing their first New York show in a year—and their first of three sold out shows at Brooklyn’s Masonic Temple—TV On The Radio were welcomed as heroes. The applause: simply deafening. Funny then, that even in a live setting, TVOTR always seem one step ahead of their audience. The TVOTR of this year’s Dear Science wants to make you move, so they came out swinging and sweating, imploding out of the gates with their most caffeinated, ass-shakable, hand-clappable material ever—”Halfway Home,” “Dancing Choose,” “Golden Age,” “Wolf Like Me”—but the docile crowd seemed more enraptured than aching to sweat. Maybe the record is too new? Maybe Brooklyn is too jaded? Nope, the kids just weren’t ready. People would put on their dancing shoes at the end. For now, they were taking it all in.
The echoey walls of the Masonic Hall successfully killed all the subtleties and nuance (this is what pretty much ruined openers the Dirtbombs), but everything in a TVOTR song works so well together that even a muddy mix is a joyous drone, a celebratory beat and a sky-gazing harmony. So while “Young Liars” was a piece of claustrophobic basement gospel in 2004, tonight it was louder than a bomb. With four horn players bleating in apocalyptic harmonies, the track became an enormous power ballad, an earthshaking blast finally worthy of all those Peter Gabriel comparisons.
The band finished out with more melancholy fare—the lovely “Love Dog,” “Dreams,” the muted “Shout Me Out,” a swinging “Satellites”—and this was actually the stuff that finally got everyone swaying, bouncing, and chanting along. This year, TVOTR went from being New York’s best art-rock band to being one of New York’s better dance bands and it’s gonna take a little while for everyone to make the switch. Luckily then, they’re still an amazing rock band, too, even tacking on a dramatic, arena-ready ending to “Dreams” that got everyone in the crowd super-duper geeked.—Christopher R. Weingarten
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 15, 2008