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Tv On The Radio - Shepherd's Bush Empire, London, 19/11/2008

  by Sarah Mwangi

published: 24 / 11 / 2008

Tv On The Radio - Shepherd's Bush Empire, London, 19/11/2008


At the Shepherd's Bush Empire in London, Sarah Mwangi is impressed by the musicianship on display of guitar-based dance art-rockers TV on the Radio, but finds their performance nevertheless somewhat muted

Sure to be among the top ten albums of year lists across a number of publications, ‘Dear Science’ by art-rockers TV On The Radio is a myriad of genres including guitar based dance. So, does it make sense that I was left fighting for the arm-rest with the people seated either side of me on the night of TV on the Radio's sold out gig? Seated at a rock concert, it’s just too formal. But that was the position I found myself in on the first tier in Shepherds Bush Empire. True, there are elements of avant jazz and chances for introspection in TV on the Radio’s third studio album which would better suit a seated audience, but the rest calls for the dismissal of formality. What happens when vocalist Tunde Adebimpe is in a ‘Dancing Choose’ trance and is jittering from one side of the stage to the other? Aren’t I allowed to throw all caution to the wind and copy his out-of-sync rhythm and be filled with the same spirits that possess him? The restrictive seats proved that all I could do was observe minus the dancing, but that wasn’t without lack of trying. Down on the stage, Tunde continues to throw his arms up in air as if trying to match the ethereal synths he creates. Trading vocal duties with Tunde is guitarist Kyp Malone who sings ‘Crying’ and the down-tempo ‘Stork & Owl’ from beneath thick black framed glasses and a forest of a beard. TV on the Radio’s performance was tight and cohesive, despite the distance they all kept to one another, as each of them were clearly in a world of their own. Lead guitarist David Sitek circled the perimeter close to his amps, flailing around and causing the chimes on the neck of his guitar to clang and clatter. While seated, Gerard Smith kept his back to the audience as he played the bass and faded into the background when he switched to piano. All the while, Jaleel Bunton was steady in the centre of the stage on drums providing the heavy. They knew their parts well and didn’t want to stray from that. This stunted the energy from both sides of the stage and could explain why only a select few on the ground floor seemed to be taking advantage of the extra room they had to dance to the pop tunes and disjointed loops. After all, Tunde couldn’t do all the work himself. Sweating through his shirt, he certainly did try to ignite the few sparks from ‘Wolf Like Me’, ‘Staring At The Sun’ and ‘Golden Age’, but couldn’t get anything bigger than a flickering flame.

Picture Gallery:-
Tv On The Radio - Shepherd's Bush Empire, London, 19/11/2008

Tv On The Radio - Shepherd's Bush Empire, London, 19/11/2008

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