Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

TV On The Radio - Oslo Hackney, London 28/10/14

06 November 2014, 15:15 | Written by Sam Briggs

Thank heavens TV on the Radio never were ones for playing by the rules – else we, and a mere couple of hundred other devotees, probably wouldn’t find ourselves squashed into the intimate top room of Oslo Hackney, a forerunning contender for the trendiest thing ever happen to the back end of a train station.

Though the capacity might be far cosier than what the band might have become accustomed to, there’s not a hint of dilution – with six members, a smorgasbord of accompanying tech, and the odd trombone, this first London show is three years is a full bodied, double concentrate return. By the time frontman Tunde Adebimpe doffs his trilby with a knowing, humble welcome, the room is at fever pitch.

Though however jam packed both sides of the barrier feel, there’s an unavoidable absence that hangs over the evening. Tonight’s show marks the band’s first show in the capital since the tragic death of bassist Gerard Smith, who passed away from lung cancer in 2011. Whether it’s the omission from the setlist of last record Nine Types of Light, or the tender, teary gaze into the middle distance from Adebimpe at the set’s close - tonight marks a respectful shift to the latest incarnation of one of the millennium’s most inventive rock bands.

Their first move is right back to those roots - with “Young Liars”, the now-decade old smoky blend of styles from the EP of the same name that propelled them to the forefront of the contemporary NY scene. The heft with which they stomp into life, guitars a-wailing, sets the tone of the evening - as Kyp Malone and Dave Sitek whip up a proper punk rock atmosphere with their loud, whirling 12-string maelstrom. It brings a weight and gravitas to the clipped, art-funk of “Dancing Choose” and “Golden Age” - memorably matched by the pogoing enthusiasm of the bouncing masses.

The songs on show from upcoming record Seeds, of which tonight five are aired, are maddeningly impressive - the limber throb of “Happy Idiot” on record just hints at the lift that Sitek’s production brings, and being limited to a single hit tonight leaves much to be anticipated. They might be brighter, bolder, sharper - but even as new buds, these tracks pack the density of the band’s best material.

After the gentle beauty of “Trouble”, the closest the band have ever come to a ballad, and the energetic “Winter”, the final one-two of fan favourites culminates with their millstone, “Staring at the Sun”, rendered in searing, racing style. That it still sounds so fresh in 2014 is testament to the state the band are permanently in - eyes cast firmly on pushing out the horizon as far as they can.

Seeds is released on November 17. The band played:

Young Liars
Wrong Way
Golden Age
Happy Idiot
Dancing Choose
Lazer Ray
Could You
Careful You

Staring At The Sun

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