Energy was pulsing from the moment TV on the Radio took the stage at Boston’s sold-out Paradise Rock Club. Since the last few runs the Brooklyn rockers made through Beantown were performed as an opening act, the excitement in the air was thick as folks eagerly anticipated what their favorite group would do with a full-length set.
Tearing into “Wrong Way” a track off 2004’s, Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes, TVOTR’s front-man, Tunde Adebimpe, took the crowd of scenesters and instantly transformed them into a sea of waving arms, working them into a frenzy as though this rock and roll congregation was being lead through a fiery sermon by a punk-rock preacher.
Moving forward, TVOTR dished out an obvious crowd pleaser off the new Return to Cookie Mountain, as they tore into the album’s first radio single, “Wolf Like Me.” As guitarist David Andrew Sitek viciously strummed along to the “Wolf’s” catchy rhythm, Adebimpe displayed his preternatural ability to extend himself into the audience from the stage, exhibiting a presence best described as a cross between James Brown and Iggy Pop.
At this point in the evening, they backtracked from the Cookie Mountain-era material to a few tunes off of their indie EP release, Young Liars; moseying through the laidback self-titled track before taking it into overdrive with a driven, hyper-speed version of the EP’s opening number, “Satellite,” which closed the set.
Returning to the stage accompanied by a camera man, who was there to document the crowd as much as the band, Adebimpe started the encore off by looping a beat-box that he dished out. As the verbalized percussive efforts looped over and over, TVOTR kicked into a high energy take of “Staring at the Sun,” before inviting the opening act, Grizzly Bear, to join them for the night’s last song, “Let the Devil In.” The members of Grizzly Bear romped around the stage, doing a Hare Krishna styled dance, while Adebimpe blasted his vocals into the mic through a bullhorn. According to the set list, this was supposed to be the end of the evening’s festivities. However, the stimuli the crowd projected onto the band from every corner of the venue was more than enough to convince the group to come back to the stage for a somber, unplanned version of their semi-ballad, “Ambulance.”
Though TVOTR successfully transferred their studio-oriented material over to the live spectrum, it’s yet to be determined whether or not the indie scene’s new “flavor of the month” and current blog-rock champs will have any staying power. If they do, the next time TVOTR comes to Boston, you’d better believe that they’ll be dishing out their unique brand of Psychedelic Doo-Wop in a venue that better speaks to the popularity they’ll be picking up along the way.
Photos by Scott Fleishman