The Commodore Ballroom played host to those indie boys from Brooklyn known as TV On The Radio. Opening the night was Grave Babies from Seattle. It was a night that had many weak moments, but in the end pulled through to be a pretty decent evening.
I walked up to the stage and joined the small crowd. A few dozen people stood before the foursome from Grave Babies, staring in confusion. It seemed there was an issue with their microphone, you could not hear one audible vocal throughout the entire set. The music itself was rich and exciting but the entire set went on without one functional lyric adding to the mix. Even the inter-song banter was inaudible and frustrated those in attendance. At several points audience members turned on the band, screaming profanities and demanding for them to leave the stage immediately. I felt bad for the band, they seemed to be trying so hard. It was difficult to watch.
The wait between the opener and the main act was long, nearly 45 minutes. The locals were starting to get rowdy. Then suddnely the lights lowered and darkness rushed in. The silhouettes of five men scattered across the stage. When the lights returned the members of TV On The Radio were standing before us and ready to rock.
The group stepped into their set with a gentle touch, playing some softer tunes to get the night warmed up. Now let it be known, I am a huge fan of this band, but until this point I had only heard them through the comfort of a recording. A part of me wishes I had left it that way. They seemed different live. For a band that screams the same energy as Bloc Part on their albums, they sure sound like a drugged out Ween performance.
Not every song was awful but the overall presentation was lackluster at best. Some tracks were fueled up and amped up the crowd. But others were just lacking any passion. It lead me to actually do something I rarely do I and I snuck out a few songs from the finally to make sure I didnt get stuck in any post-concert traffic.
The bottom line was the band just didn’t seem consistant in their delivery. The vocals were muddy and seemed to be mixed with a shovel. The instruments were the only constant; always full and rich. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed the show, but it was not as mind blowing as the albums I had been listening to over the past few years. The quintet seemed tired. That translated into a show that was decent at best. I feel like this wasn’t their normal performance, so I am not hating the band. I will try and check them out again when they return again some time. But for now I have to say, I should have skipped this night and sat at home listening to them on my ipod. Maybe the problem was they couldn’t live up to the hype I had placed on them in my own mind.