Live Review–TV on the Radio, 9:30 Club, 6-8-09

While I’m a huge TV on the Radio fan, I’ve got to admit, I wasn’t blown away the last time they blew through DC. The problem for me is the difference in sound–the band sounds incredible on wax, benefiting from superb production work and an obvious ear for combining numerous sounds into a coherent whole. Live, though, a number of those elements are missing, from various instrumental touches to vocal over-dubs and the like.

Suffice to say, I wasn’t expecting too, too much from the gang this time around. Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be the best damn show I’ve seen at the 9:30 in recent memory.

I didn’t get there in time for openers The Dirty Projectors, having had an important hockey game to lose earlier in the evening. To make matters more interesting still, I apparently ordered four tickets when I only meant to order two. While the guy I gave freebies to in front of the club seemed delighted, this was not the way I particularly wanted to start the evening.

And then the show started. TVotR played predominantly from Dear Science, (“Red Dress,” “Family Tree”), but didn’t shy away from earlier material, either (“Wrong Way,” “Wolf Like Me”). The highlight, though, clearly came in the encore. A brilliantly played “Young Liars” led into TVotR and DP taking the stage together for a tribal drum-along version of “A Method.” The fact that those are two of my favorite songs by the band certainly didn’t hurt that situation. While the songs still sounded light years away from the CD versions, the band was much tighter than their previous show, seemingly inspired to new heights. There was a lack of chatter with the audience beyond thanking the openers, but every band has their own style, right?

The best part for me arguably had nothing to do with the music, surprisingly enough. Somehow, I managed to find the one perfect spot in the back of the club where I had a nearly clear view of the stage AND, far more importantly, I HARDLY WAS BUMPED INTO ALL NIGHT. Yes, yes, I know, let’s not blow things out of proportion or anything, but is there anything better at a show than that? Of course not.

Anybody see the second night of the tour on Tuesday? Was it as good?

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