Live Review

TV On The Radio, Shepherd’s Bush Empire

A strong performance in places, however it didn’t always sound right.

It’s complicated to say something different to what has already been said before about TV on the Radio without sounding somewhat contrived. Yes, they encompass what it means to be alternative, with their funk/rock infused sound touching on jazz, electro and various other genres in between thus continually defying to be pigeonholed. And that is what makes them great.

Following the release of their highly acclaimed new album ‘Dear Science’ (albeit a considerably more polished affair than their previous offerings, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing), TVotR have sold out Shepherd’s Bush Empire. It is fair to say that as they take to the stage, the people expect a high quality performance from a world-class band.

Opening with ‘Young Liars’, a percussion led intro sees TVotR construct layers both musically and vocally with Tunde Adibimpe taking control of the dance moves too. Veering from the funk of ‘Red Dress’ and ‘Golden Age’ to the slower meanderings of ‘DLZ’ and ‘Shout Me Out’, their sound continuously shifts and incorporates differing sounds from fuzzy punk, funk, interspersed with jazz inflections. In doing so, TVotR also choose to rework tracks rather than pass on the standard affair found on their LPs, thus giving a refreshing perspective on individual song.

Tunde is what Kyp Malone is not and this works vice versa. An energised performance from Tunde sees him take command much of the stage as he moves to the rhythm across the stage. Kyp is the antithesis of Tunde as he stands relatively static with his guitar, a calming influence on the whole. This clearly works well as it also marks their vocal differences, complimenting each other and the music on the respective songs without sounding out of place, always soulful, always using the appropriate tonal range. Understandably they are greeted with cheers as the take the stage once again for an encore. Here, super producer David Sitek leaves his guitar as he takes on percussion as he vigorously beats the drum.

Although it was a strong performance in places, it didn’t always sound right or as great as it should be. Whether it was a sound problem or quality slipping in places was unclear but this clearly didn’t hinder the overall pace of the set as the crowds left the venue with a contented sigh.

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