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10 mai 2006

TV on the Radio in Person

Memo to the Showbox: If you are going to open your doors two hours before any music, please let us know that in advance. Otherwise, we will assume you're following standard operating procedure (doors an hour before opening acts) and will arrive accordingly. And then you end up with a grumpy crowd on your hands who have just been given an unexpected extra hour to drink. No one wants that.

Such was the scene at the Showbox Friday night, when Seattlest arrived at 8:45pm for what we thought was a 9pm show---only to be informed at the door that opening band Celebration wouldn't be going on until 10pm, with headliners TV on the Radio at 11pm. We were pissed, but bided our time by having a couple Smirnoff™ Jolly Ranchers, a drink that varied in ingredients as well as size depending on which bartender was pouring. The version we preferred included every flavor of vodka (except for vanilla), plus a splash of soda and cranberry. Juuuuuuuuice!

So we waited over an hour for the music to start, and when Celebration finally began their set (right on time, thankfully), we were less than impressed. We'd sum up lead singer Katrina Ford in four words: Poor Man's Karen O. Seriously, all she did was tone down the Yeah Yeah Yeahs singer's vocal stylings and theatrics. Her flouncing-about schtick got old real fast, and the only thing at all compelling about her performance was her left nipple poking through her shirtdress. Besides that, meh. Perhaps Celebration is better in recorded form, because we couldn't care less about them live.

mini-beatboxing.jpgWe were greatly relieved when Celebration's set was done and TV on the Radio took the stage. Their setlist was evenly distributed between their stellar debut Young Liars EP, the mixed results of Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes, and their forthcoming, terribly-named Return to Cookie Mountain. Handsome lead singer Tunde Adebimpe, unlike the Celebration chick, was way compelling to watch---we think it's the deep Peter Gabriel-esque vocals coupled with his dramatic, lithe limb-flailing delivery. We're a big fan of guitarist Kyp Malone as well. His harmonizing falsetto always comes as a surprise, given his afroed and big-bearded look. And then there's David Andrew Sitek, otherwise known as "the white dude," who played a guitar with dangling metal chimes and sang along with Tunde, despite not having a mic. TV on the Radio saved two of our favorite songs for the encore, performing a driving, intense version of "Staring at the Sun," while Sitek broke things down beatbox-style on the sweetly unconventional love song "Ambulance."

TVotR always gives an energizing performance, and this show got us really excited for the new album. We'll be doing a countdown till Cookie Mountain is available, all the way to June 20th. To quote Jack Bauer, "Dammit!"

Photos care of Gavin Radkey.

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