Words by Chris Pacifico
TV on the Radio with Grizzly Bear :: 10.21.06 :: Starlight Niteclub :: Philadelphia, PA
It always feels good to cut loose on the weekend after a long week of the grind and catch a show. But on this particular night it felt a whole lot better as the TV on the Radio performance at Philly's Starlight Niteclub was part of a series of benefit concerts across America to benefit refugees in the Darfur region of Sudan, who have been displaced by a systematic government-sponsored campaign of genocide.
TV on the Radio by Neil Gavin
First up was fellow-Brooklyn bangers Grizzly Bear, whose breezy and elastic day-glow pop warmed up the crowd with gems off their recent release, Yellow House, such as "Easier" and "The Knife." Throughout the set, the band would consistently allow their layered cinematic folk with four-part harmonies and atmospheric infusions to rise, capturing the attention of fans. One could go on and on about Grizzly Bear's stunning live shows, but JamBase is in the midst of penning a feature on them, so we'll have to hold back the rest of the details for now.
It's no secret that TV on the Radio, touring in support of their fantastic new long player Return to Cookie Mountain, and Grizzly Bear admire each other very much and were honored to be on a fall tour together for which tonight was their last engagement before both bands headed out on their own European treks. Backstage while TVOTR guitarist David Sitek was swigging Jagermeister, both bands gathered together in a huddle formation to say their goodbyes seconds before TVOTR took the stage to a rousing ovation.
Tunde Adebimpe :: Philly :: 10.21
By Christie Harrison
Sitek came to the stage with a set of wind chimes dangling from his guitar neck as drummer Jaleel Bunton went to work on a melodica while singer Tunde Adebimpe started beat-boxing before morphing it into a lowly whistle as the band crashed into "Dirtywhirl." "Dreams" was a welcome live treat from their previous LP, Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes, showing the relative shoegaze mist that feathered out of the band alongside Adebimpe's pitched-up harmonies.
While not quite the "rock" guitarist who belts out solos during live performances, Sitek still managed to awe the audience with the blissful decibels and phosphorescent noise by ringing the neck of his guitar like it did something wrong. The trip-hop-laden "I Was a Lover" got the folks dancing and throwing up their hands like a club floor from the track's raining thumps while Adebimpe was grooving out like Prince in his prime. Even though "Providence" was played sans David Bowie, who guest starred on the studio version, it was with this track that it became apparent that Adebimpe feels the groove to every note played by his band while swerving his arms and hands in a liquid motion to each of the track's rhythms, appearing as if he's got the Holy Ghost in him as they say down South.
Gerard Smith's scampering bass lines led the punchy "The Wrong Way," which got the audience hopping and hooting like it was one big gospel choir, in a rendition of the song rhapsodic enough to make you scream "Hallelujah!" After splashing water on the folks, TVOTR tore through their hair-raising barn-burner "Wolf Like Me" while the most seasoned of their fans let their satisfaction become known when the classic "Young Liars" showed up next. Before eventually ending the set, TVOTR blessed us with an encore consisting of the breezy crescendo "Poppy" and having the members of Grizzly Bear on stage to dance along to "Let the Devil In" like a tribe of joyous Ewoks.
TV on the Radio is probably the one band that you must know about in order to have any comprehension as to what is going on in music today. Onstage they put such heart, soul, and passion into what they're doing. Just about any live performance from them is not only a beautiful moment for your ears, but leaves each and every crowd member nothing less than inspired.
TV on the Radio
It was a night of great music for a good cause, but the crowd also got a bit of schooling about the dire situation which still takes place right now over in the Sudan as 400,000 people have died as a result of ethnic cleansing while millions of others tend to live in deplorable conditions and face the threat of malnutrition and death from preventable diseases. Everyone is urged to visit SAVEDARFUR.ORG to turn up the heat on our government to do something about this shameful chapter in our modern times as well as write to your elected officials to see to it that they put the screws to Washington. If Darfur keeps on going on the same path as it is now, more people will continue to die and history will be our judge. This is not a matter of being liberal or being conservative. It's a matter of being human.
Click here to check out JamBase's feature on TV on the Radio with David Sitek...
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