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Television - Edinburgh Liquid Room, 17/6/2002

  by John Clarkson

published: 11 / 6 / 2002

Television - Edinburgh Liquid Room, 17/6/2002


In what was their first Scottish show in twenty five years, there was bound to be an element of mystery about Television's gig at the Edinburgh Liquid Room. John Clarkson, however, goes away more confused than before and with decidely mixed feelings

There has always been an air of mystery about Television. The spiky, angular, unique guitar work ; the barbed elusiveness of frontman Tom Verlaine's lyrics : the sudden break ups and the equally unexpected reformations have all contributed towards making the New York punk innovaters something of an enigma. The posters that hang outside the Liquid Room, and which show the band, still as young men in their twenties, at the time twenty five years ago of their seminal debut 'Marquee Moon' , add further to this sense of mystery, and give the whole event an aura of legend and myth. Inside the venue, in what is Television's first Scottish show since they supported Blondie at the long closed Glasgow Apollo in 1977, there is a sense of beery reverence amongst the packed to capacity largely male audience. Noone could fairly expect the band to take off exactly from when they left off when they initially split up shortly after releasing their second album 'Adventure' in 1978, or even from when they last reformed in 1992 to record an eponymous third album. Both the audience, which consists largely of thirty, forty and fifty somethings, and, of course, the band itself have moved on, and right from the outset of the concert, and the moment the four piece walk brusquely onto the stage, they prove they have no intention of doing so, warming up with a surprising improvised, jazz influenced, free flowing instrumental. Unfortunately both Verlaine and the group's other guitarist Richard Lloyd have the tendency to self indulge in guitar rambles that bear more resemblance to the Dire Straits, rather than the group which spearheaded and started the often stark New York CBGB's punk scene three decades ago. With the exception of Verlaine briefly take some time to jokingly bite back at some hecklers. there is also little direct contact between the band and the audience. There is much though to admire in the band's 100 minute set -a beautiful, rhapsodic 'Prove It' ; a jubilant 'Glory' ; a slowed down, blues reowrking of 'Little Johnny Jewel' and an ecstatic fifteen minute 'Marquee Moon', which is only slightly marred by further over wrought guitar wranglings at its very end by Verlaine and Lloyd. Not quite the evening then that many might have predicted, and one which provokes as many further questions as it does answers, but not without its moments either, and if Television's past history is anything to go by, with a quarter of a century to wait until their next Scottish date, certainly worth catching at least once in a lifetime.

Picture Gallery:-
Television - Edinburgh Liquid Room, 17/6/2002

Television - Edinburgh Liquid Room, 17/6/2002

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