TV On The Radio/Celebration

  • London
  • United Kingdom
  • ULU
  • 2006-05-15

These two NYC bands have toured together consistently, share a label (in the UK), guest on each other’s records and they seem quite close emotionally and sonically. TV on the Radio were the headliners in this case, but both complemented each other and members of each band cross pollinated with percussion and vocals throughout.

Celebration play a skronky sped-up blues, underpinned by the primal groove of The Doors. Singer Katrina Ford was a great focal point, a cross between Karen O and PJ Harvey who writhed, swayed, yelped and screamed fabulously throughout the stop-start single “War” and the likes of “New Skin” from their eponymous debut — both quite reminiscent of Eighties indie-weirdos Rip Rig and Panic or The Birthday Party. There was also some very impressive multi-instrumentation from Sean Antanaitis who seemed to play guitar, keyboards and bass at once. Great stuff.

This is the sound of the new New York. A multi-cultural sound clash…

TV On The Radio have taken a leap up the ladder in the States by signing to Interscope and their new album, Return To Cookie Mountain, is due this year. Despite any new songs being very scarce to any but the most resourceful of MP3 hunters the band were brave enough to play more new than old numbers. Although from the quality of the songs and the reaction garnered their bravery was vindicated. Of these new songs new single, “Wolf Like Me”, was a snarling hightlight. A cathartic hardcore thrash that slows down to half-speed then crashes back once more at the end. Elsewhere, “Province” featured the same droning, effects-laden guitar as found on the YYYs debut and songs like “Maps” (guitarist David Andrew Sitek actually produced Fever To Tell) and “I was a Lover” displayed a similar layered, percussion-driven sound of much of Desparate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes.

TVOTR only played a few tracks from that excellent 2004 debut, and those that they did were alternate versions played with the live experience in mind. Singles “Dreams” and “Staring at the Sun” became full on R&R powered by Tunde Adebimpe’s fire and brimstone rock n soul vocals and kinetic stage presence, and though shorn somewhat of their otherworldliness they appealed to a crowd stoked up on Celebration’s dynamism. The, erm, ‘barbershop’ elements of “Ambulance” were replaced with human beatbox and an extended percussive outro featuring all but one member of both bands. This twisted love song featured some great lines (“I will be your ambulance/if you will be my accident”) and was a fittingly ace end to the whole night.

This is the sound of the new New York. A multi-cultural sound clash that takes in elements of garage rock, jazz, hip-hop and afrobeat, but doesn’t sound forced. It will be difficult to predict how the new TVOTR album will sound considering how they played with their earlier material tonight but I predict a riot.

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