TV on the Radio, Paradise Rock Club, October 14, 2006
At their inception, they were two: singer Tunde Adebimpe and musician/producer David Sitek. The TV on the Radio who arrived at the Paradise last Saturday were a quintet. But unlike many bands who try to reproduce unconventional recorded output in a conventional live performance, they enhance and elevate their studio recordings on stage. They used a guitar/bass/drums arrangement to turn the electronic drones of “Young Liars” into thrashing guitar rock, and the shimmering single from their first disc, “Staring at the Sun,” took on the groove of a dance track. By the time everyone realized that this was not going to be your average art-rock show, the dancing had commenced.
Still, the Brooklyn-based band’s energy would go for naught if they didn’t have Adebimpe as a spokesperson. A man possessed, he leaped and writhed, swinging his arms and working the crowd as if the music had taken hold of him. Which it had, really, as he belted out some of the best cuts from the group’s July major-label release, Return to Cookie Mountain (Interscope). By the time “Wolf like Me,” the stand-out single, showed up mid set, it seemed he really might go on “howling forever.”
Throughout the night, it was easy to spot multiple strands of rock history, yet nothing about TV on the Radio’s sound implies retro, and every choice seems to come naturally. They may be too adventurous to break through to a mainstream audience, but they lived up to their hype.
The same can’t be said for the opening act, fellow Brooklynites Grizzly Bear. The musicianship was there, but the sound was soporific and relied on reverb to mask weak songwriting. At least they seemed to enjoy being invited up by TV on the Radio for the celebratory encore, “Let the Devil In.”
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