Himanshu Suri, one third of Das Racist, who performed an entertaining and inspired set as openers last night at Music Hall of Williamsburg, wore an oversized Panda Bear t-shirt, and for the first time in Brooklyn’s history, it looked positively out of place. All this week, and especially last night, is about one band: TV on the Radio.
The show began with “Killer Crane,” a fitting intro considering it’s also the first song off of Nine Types, and maybe the record’s best, too. Live, though, the band hasn’t quite figured the song out, a common criticism that was heaved their way during the tour for Science and their infamous and messy SNL performance. But with the exception of “Crane,” the new material sounded fantastic: “Caffeinated Consciousness” thrashed, “You” sounded like a gorgeous, and apocalyptic, slow jam, and “Will Do,” transformed into the epic it deserves to be, receiving the loudest amount of post-song applause.
They didn’t skimp out on the older material either, playing tracks from all their previous releases, including a particularly cymbal-bashing take on “Young Liars,” reverb-heavy “The Wrong Way,” and a jumpy sped-up “Wolf Like Me,” one of the world’s perfect songs. “Dancing Choose,” no longer simply inspired by “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine”), sounds like an updated, funky version of the R.E.M. classic, and the band closed the set with a staticy “Satellite.”
As for the band itself: they all looked incredibly happy to be playing in Brooklyn on record release day (Tunde Adebimpe even wished “happy birthday” to the album). It was an intimate affair, made even more so because, as Adebimpe pointed out, whenever they play a hometown gig, the band starts receiving a lot of phone calls from friends. Adebimpe, who gyrated and thrusted to the crowd throughout, sang lead on every song but “Keep Your Heart” and “Red Dress,” led by Kyp Malone, but the two dueted with their unmistakable and passionate “oooooohhhhhhh” often, and it was magical every time. Dave Sitek filled every possible inch of the songs with noise, rarely taking a solo, while drummer Jaleel Bunton has a much larger presence in person than on the records.
Tonight, they play at Radio City Music Hall, and I strongly recommend looking for tickets on Craigslist—just don’t ask Tunde for tickets.
TV on the Radio
Photos by Nadia Chaudhury