When I saw TV On The Radio for the fourth time, it was at a Masonic Temple in the middle of Brooklyn. They had just released their fourth album, Dear Science, and were playing with a cracking horn section in what could have been your high school gym (albeit a gigantic one, something belonging to one of the big bad rival schools on Friday Night Lights). It should have been weird to see this internationally renowned band, who’ve played on Letterman…
… in such an intimate setting after watching them absolutely crush festivals and Webster Hall. But it wasn’t. Not even when band guitarist Kyp Malone stood four feet away from me before they hit the stage to check out the opening act.
So here it is, three years later and I’m stoked to see that they’re touring again, promoting their new fantastic album, Nine Types of Light. Sadly, they will be without their bassist Gerard Smith, who they lost in April after a short battle with lung cancer. He was only 36, which makes a tragedy even sadder. It’s going to be interesting to see how raw they’ll get, especially when playing “Second Song,” whose lyrics may hit a little hard when thinking about Smith.
I’m going to see them at the Austin City Limits Festival, which will be my first. I wonder if this renewed line-up will make it seem like I’ll be watching them for the first time, too. Bands, much like sports teams, know each other’s quirks and can feel which way their energy’s moving. It’s part of being human, this important rapport with your collegues, and why there hasn’t been a sucessful band of robots to hit the Top-10 since 98-Degrees. Smith’s death makes going to watch TVOTR one of the most exciting non-Irish wakes I can remember. And like those Irish wakes, I know the show will be more a celebration more than anything.
Will you be seeing TV On The Radio this year, or have fond memories of past performances? Share them in the comments!