Monday, October 16th, 2006
Wolf Like Me
You’re not likely to find a more critically acclaimed tour this Fall than the Brooklyn-based pairing of TV On The Radio and Grizzly Bear that rolled into the Opera House this past Thursday night. Touring in support of Return To Cookie Mountain and Yellow House, respectively, this show was long sold-out and people seemed to be as excited to see the openers as much as the headliners, if not more.
When I wrote up Yellow House last month , I mentioned that it was on my way towards absorbing and appreciating the record, but that it was taking a while. Well seeing the band live has certainly helped that process along – seeing the band recreate the lush haziness of the album live was very impressive. The four-part vocal harmonies, in particular, amazed me as I had assumed that they were layered via overdub in the studio. The most mind-blowing aspect of the show, however, was watching drummer Christopher Bear (not the band’s namesake) go to work – the power and finesse he displayed behind the kit gave the band a primal, dynamic dimension that I hadn’t detected on record, but without undermining the delicacy and dreaminess of the songs. And I wasn’t the only one impressed – half of TV On The Radio were camped out sidestage while Grizzly Bear played and were air-drumming along with Bear. Sufficed to say that seeing them in performance has given me a new perspective on Grizzly Bear and I’m eager to get back to discovering Yellow House.
Conversely, my first exposure to TV On The Radio was back in June at the Prospect Park show in Brooklyn, so I was won over by their energetic live show before I heard their studio work. And the albums – both Cookie Mountain and its predecessor Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes – as good as they are sounded a little over-slick and restrained for me to really get over the moon about. Simply put, they didn’t have the same punch that sold me that night in Brooklyn but I was hoping that they’d manage to reignite that spark with their performance and I’ve gotta say, they absolutely did. Battling muddy sound and drums that were way too quiet in the mix, TV On The Radio put on a blazing show that triumphed by sheer force of will. Tunde Adibempe was a riveting, live-wire frontman prowling the stage while Kyp Malone, falsetto, stationary and serene, offered a perfect visual and aural counterpart. They stuck largely to the faster and more anthemic portion of their repetoire for a set that was soulful, intense and electrifying, start to finish. And seriously, the albums even sound different to me now, like instead of being restrained they’re just tightly coiled and waiting to hit the stage to explode. The band was so on on this night, as I suspect they have been for the whole tour which I believe will go down as a career-defining one for the band. Good thing they were videotaping the whole thing for posterity (or a DVD). Consider my status as fan cemented.
But the media seems more interested in Grizzly Bear – eye and The San Francisco Bay Guardian have interviews while MPR and NPR have radio sessions available to stream (though MPR also did one with TVOTR). Chart and The Globe & Mail have post-game reviews.
Photos: TV On The Radio, Grizzly Bear @ The Opera House – October 12, 2006
MP3: TV On The Radio – “Wolf Like Me”
MP3: Grizzly Bear – “On A Neck, On A Spit”
MP3: Grizzly Bear – “Lullabye”
Video: TV On The Radio – “Wolf Like Me” (YouTube)
MySpace: TV On The Radio
MySpace: Grizzly Bear
Continuing on with today’s Brooklyn/NYC theme, The Deli profiles Dirty On Purpose, who will be in town November 9 at Lee’s Palace opening for The Album Leaf. They also talk to Washington Square News about the making of their jazzercisilicious video for “No Radio”.
Billboard reports that Ambulance Ltd, who is now essentially just frontman Marcus Congleton, has composed three new songs for DKNY jeans’ website which you can download if you dig deep into their site. Or just click below. To get to the interview with Congleton, you have to click through “Entertainment”, “Culture” and then “Ambulance Ltd”. Congleton also tells Billboard the new album won’t be as “guitar-heavy or dreamy”, which kind of raises the question of what the point is, then.
The Houston Chronicle talks Lemony Snicket with Stephin Merritt and learns the new Magnetic Fields album is actually almost finished. He also talks to The New York Observer about being hated and miserable.
And as a general statement – if I owe you an email from the last couple weeks, I’m sorry. I’ve been really slack on replying to stuff. But I will get to it… unless I’m ignoring you. In which case I probably won’t.