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Wednesday, December 13

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Review Thu Mar 26 2015

TV on the Radio Gave the Metro a Strikingly Intense Night

TVOTR1.jpgTV on the Radio have been around for a little over a decade and they have been releasing the most unique albums I've ever heard. Their music grabs inspiration from such varied sources and are brought together in such innovative ways, it seems like they are forever destined to be ahead of their time. Last year they released Seeds, their first album since Gerard Smith's passing. As a huge fan of TV on the Radio, Smith's passing came at a time where it affected me greatly. It was a loss that certainly could have stopped TV on the Radio in its tracks, but instead it strengthened and encouraged the band to continue creating. Seeds feel like a beautiful tribute to Smith, featuring some of the brightest songs the group has written. It's a testament to their ability and fortitude to strive forward without forgetting of their past .This past Monday, TV on the Radio stopped by the Metro and showed their resilience and amazing showmanship to a sold out audience.

Nostalghia1.jpgI thought it would be hard to get an opener that can pair well with the diverse elements in TV on the Radio's music. However Nostalghia's experimental and heavy sound more than managed to fit the bill. The band describes its music as apocalyptic gyspy punk and they nail it right on the head. The live band made up of frontwoman Ciscandra Nostalghia, multi-instrumentalist Roy Gnan, and cellist Adele Stein started their set with "Sunshiny Milk", a song that had their avant garde sound in full effect. Ciscandras's voice ranged from soft and mellow timbres to guttural wails in a sudden shift. Gnan's drumming came down with a substantial force that really punctuated Stein's gorgeous work on the cello. Moments in the song sound like a terrifying lullaby before being thrashed around with the wanton "Pow pows" of the chorus.

Nostalghia2.jpgThroughout the set it was hard to take your eyes off Ciscandra as she moved with graceful fury, kicking water bottles out of her way before flowing off into gentle arm motions. Her presence felt unbelievably huge as she commanded the stage, especially during "Sink Skinned Reptilian - Sharks" where her movements and elongated cries seemed to be at their most concentrated. Ciscandra puts so much so much of her energy into the performance that it inherent catharsis becomes overwhelming. The lyrically brutal "Stockholm Syndrome" ended their set, leaving a lasting and immediate impression of Nostalghia with the crowd.

TVOTR2.jpgAs the lights dimmed and TV on the Radio emerged, the crowd at Metro completely lost it. Although the band originates from Brooklyn, there is so much history between the band and Chicago. They released their first E.P. through local label Touch and Go and have played countless shows in city. This show felt like a homecoming and the sold out crowd made it known as the extended droning intro of "Young Liars" grew to a magnificent frenzied high. Tunde Adebimpe stood center stage, leading the band into its wordy elegance. Kyp Malone ripped into is guitar on one end while Dave Sitek let the wind chimes at the end of his guitar gently ring. Jaleel Bunton grooved along at the back of the stage along with drummer Jahphet Landis and trombonist Smoota. The song was a great look back at their beginnings, marking the oldest track featured that night and set the ecstatic punk tone for the rest of the show.

Sitek.jpgEarlier I mentioned the distinct change in the songs on Seeds which featured a more danceable nature to them. While this remained true for the set, there was still a huge shot of punk sensibilities tossed into the performance. They were just so dynamic, reaching back to their roots and infusing into their evolved sound."Lazerray" retained its joyful melody but its snarling guitars seemed louder and more intense. Adebimpe's frantic jumping and dashes to the edge of the stage only made the song feel faster and embodied the true anima of the band. It made what was already going to be a great show better.

kyp malone1.jpg The strongest point in the set came right at the midpoint with a wonderful grouping of four songs. They held a consistent theme that made them feel like a long interconnected story of strained love. "Happy Idiot", the first single of Seeds, started it off with the lovelorn pain you'd expect from TV on the Radio, trying desperately to forget a past relationship. It was followed by "Trouble" lamenting over its return and repeating the helpful mantra "Oh, I keep telling myself, 'Don't worry, be happy'/Oh, you keep telling yourself, 'Everything's gonna be okay'". The two songs became bonded together with "Careful You" uttering a sort of love in French and attempting to reconnect the past at hand. The sequence came to a disastrously beautiful end with "Wolf Like Me", a song where every single person in the audience sang along. No word of the werewolf transformation standing in for sexual awakening was missed and every member of the band could feel it.

TVOTR3.jpgThe show was closed out with a three song encore that continued the rising drive of the event. It spanned TV on the Radio's catalog, looking back at every other album and ending towards the beginning of their career. If there was any disappointment I had about the show it not touching upon Nine Types of Light, however it's understanding why they didn't. "Caught up in a feeling/Cut right through the ceiling", the opening lines of "Ride" echoed the feelings of the crowd. "Dancing Choose" upped the ante with more punk rattled noise, send the room into a tizzy. The whole night felt like it was coming to this definitive end. There was one song that was clearly missing and in the shows final moments appeared. "Staring at the Sun", the longing song about love, sex, and death became the evening most hectic and boisterous song. Completely different from its origins it bullied past the tenderness into a raucous cacophony that put a well deserving exclamation point on the night.

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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