TV on the Radio played a double header on Tuesday and Wednesday in Denver at The Ogden Theater with Broken Social Scene as the opener to near sell out crowds both nights. The two bands are synonymous with indie rock even though they clearly display different methods of playing and entertaining. BSS is a big group of rockers with mixed gender vocals, a horn section, and whimsical attitudes whereas TVOTR is a more reserved crew with dimmer lighting and deeper melodic harmonies.
The opener, Broken Social Scene, is in most rights a headlining band, in fact they played to a packed house in Boulder back in March at the Boulder Theater. And I’d have to say I was disappointed that they were the opener because they only played for about an hour each night and left the crowd begging for more. Both nights they played mostly older songs which was a welcome change from a real fans perspective, as most bands tend to dwell on their newer stock when on tour. Frontman Kevin Drew mentioned several times that this was their first time in Denver and how much fun they were having.
Tuesday night was a slightly more energetic setting with higher paced songs and the usual flip flopping of instruments between band members and also the in and out of people joing and leaving for certain songs. BSS has always been known for their party like scene with anywhere from 5-13 musicians on stage at any given time. The altitude and thin air must have gotten to Brendan Canning(Bass, Guitar) who found himself bouncing and karate kicking throughout the night. Drew was also spotted down in the photo pit using the front row of fans as a springboard as he is often seen doing.(At least in 3 of the last 4 shows I’ve been to, he crowd surfed about 60 yards in San Fran last fall.)
Wednesday’s performance was focused on some of their quieter hits but the horns were still ablazing on “Ibi Dreams of Pavement” and a rare “Lover’s Spit” sighting occurred as the stage emptied except for Drew on keyboards who dedicated the song to some old friends. Then in a wave of elation several other band members re-appeared half way through to play the melodica(Canning), harmonica(Andrew Whiteman) and trumpet(Charles Spearin) to finish the song out. BSS has proven that they are a very entertaining band and continue to rock out like they are 20-somethings in a garage, you should definitely check them out next time they are around.
TV on the Radio assumingly played two shows to make up for the one show that was cancelled earlier in the year due to the death of bassist Gerard Smith, who lost his battle with lung cancer. I was somewhat hesitant to attend both shows because I had seen them a few years ago and they were less than remarkable live. This time around however, they impressed from the start coming out clapping and shuffling feet with loud music and vocals. Taking their normally tame album sound to new heights of excitement and joy. The crowd was extremely into the scene as were the band, the energy in the room was frenetically contageous.
Lead singer, Tunde Adebimpe, was all over the stage with arms flailing and mouth roaring, scooting along in a shuffling foot dance and intermittantly would retire to a mini keyboard with a siren on it. Bass player Kyp Malone also showed a little shuffle in his step when he wasn’t hiding the mic in his beard and humming out lyrics in his mysterious sort of way. TVOTR also played alot of older songs over the two night extravaganza but still appealed to newer fans with songs off of their newest release Nine Types of Light.
Together the two bands were a good combo to see and hear great musicians do their thing. The crowd was into it, the bands were into it, and overall it was a great couple of entertaining nights to spend in the middle of the week.
To see all my pics from these 2 nights: Photos