LIVE: TV on The Radio, SXSW
by Winston "Stone" Ford
Photos from TV On The Radio from SPIN at Stubbs from Gravity 508. Please support. Review from SPIN at Stubbs show as well as MOG at the Mohawk performance.
If there was ever a band who made it onto my per-verbal bucket list, it had to be TV On The Radio.
Let’s not front. I’m not a superfan. When the Brooklyn collective first hit the scene I dismissed them as being too left-field, too Williamsburg for my tastes. However, over the course of time, I opened my ears to them, and I’ve been a fan ever since. However, until this SXSW they remained one of the few bands who I haven’t seen live yet. Thankfully, I saw them not once, but twice. Mark one off the list and add a star.
Starting off both afternoon strong, lead singer Tunde Adebimpe proved his worthiness as a frontman from the jump. From the start you realize that this is no emo band at all. Tunde reminds me off a Mick Jagger or a Stephen Tyler (pre-American Idol). He’s all over the place, and your eyes are immediately drawn to him as he commands your attention. It doesn’t matter of the band was playing a “corporate gig,” they came to play.
Although the huge Stubbs amphitheater for the SPIN party was an appropriate setting, it’s seeing them at the Mohawk was a far more special occasion. The outdoor stage there felt like someone’s backyard, and the small capacity of the venue made it feel like a private party.
The crowd at MOG was down for the entire setlist. From “Young Liars,” to their new song (and rather awkward video) “I’ll Be.” Songs that I didn’t like before, like “Dancing Choose,” came to life thanks to Tunde. And even though 2 members of the band pursued solo projects last year (Rain Machine, Maximum Balloon) and bassist Gerard Smith not on tour, the band seemed not to lose a step.
Let’s face it, one of my reasons to come down to SXSW is to see bands during that week in March so I don’t have to see them later. However, after seeing TVOTR twice in two days in Austin I’m hella tempted to drop $50 to see them again at Radio City in two weeks. I suggest you do the same.