Tag Archives: Tunde Adebimpe

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TV on the Radio Light Up Kings Theatre

May 21st, 2015

TV on the Radio – Kings Theatre – May 20, 2015

(Photo: Charles Steinberg)

(Photo: Charles Steinberg)

For all of their prowess and earned accolades, TV on the Radio have always come across as a neighborhood band, the kind you’d see watching a Knicks game at local bar, coming up with their songs. It’s because of their familiarity and accessibility that you feel closer to them when they perform, and this mood was apparent last night at Brooklyn’s Kings Theatre, a place that reinforces the intimacy of sharing song and expression. “Thank you very much for coming to this beautiful fucking theater,” said frontman Tunde Adebimpe, “It’s very nice to be home.” The band had been relatively quiet the past three years, turning inward and out of sight to process the passing of bassist Gerard Smith, but they have been eager to tour behind their newest record, Seeds, and this enthusiasm was felt from the start.

The first block of the show was almost entirely dedicated to flaunting their new work, but the introduction of “Young Liars,” rolling in gradually with the meditative sprawl that brought to mind Talk Talk or Yo La Tengo then building to exultation, let concertgoers know how far this group has come. Adibempe’s vocal refrain of “Thank you for taking my hand” absorbed all in attendance. Through lyrics that have always revealed a search to measure and understand the fluctuation of emotions connected to modern romance and meaningful rumination, Adebimpe is able to sound vulnerable without sounding soft. You can hear the seasoning of the soul that comes with experience of tangled relationships, and while he may have been hurt, he ain’t no punk, able to resurface and revisit his past through music that carries the tonal gravity substantive enough to meet the profundity of his offerings of existential observation.

The thing about live performance is that the room is open to be filled as much as the band can push out. Songs can be expanded on parts that are contained in a recording, and new tempos can be assigned to make tunes more suitable for live format—“Careful You” and “DLZ” were such examples, the latter rocked out in a manner that recalled Living Colour. The intention of Seeds was to make you want to sing along, and that took on a particular significance in TV on the Radio’s hometown. The songs echoed and resonated. With much of the new material covered, “Wolf Like Me” brought a howling response from the audience. The classic “A Method” began like a baseball-stadium organist made to play at gunpoint, and the home team, TVOTR, was joined onstage by opening act Bo Ningen, with everyone banging on anything they could find, bottles, loose cymbals, all pulsing against the venue’s walls. Witnessing TV on the Radio on the Kings Theatre stage last night, still united and in sync after more than a decade of comings and goings of countless other rock-fusion groups, brought both warmth and chills, and the triumphant feeling that some bands will always be there with us, right around the corner. —Charles Steinberg

(TV on the Radio play Terminal 5 tonight.)

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TV on the Radio End Tour at Home at Music Hall of Williamsburg

November 24th, 2014

TV on the Radio – Music Hall of Williamsburg – November 22, 2014

TV on the Radio – Music Hall of Williamsburg – November 22, 2014
There was a time when Williamsburg was still an affordable place to live, before New York City’s music scene exploded with a handful of bands that would go on to define indie-rock music at the turn of the millennium—the Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Interpol and TV on the Radio. That last group had their gestation period take place in Williamsburg, so it makes sense that they’d wrap up their latest tour in their home base. Still absolutely adored here, the band easily sold out three local shows (plus a free in-store appearance at Rough Trade NYC), with their final appearance taking place at a packed Music Hall of Williamsburg on Saturday night. The performance kicked off with one of TV on the Radio’s very first songs, an unraveling expansive soundscape that slowly evolved its way toward the introductory vocal coos of “Young Liars.” Its energy notched up incrementally until dissipating into the taut funkiness of “Golden Age.”

Singer Tunde Adebimpe was a stage-performing spectacle. Whichever hand wasn’t holding his microphone was almost always miming out the song, sometimes reaching out to the audience as if to lend them a hand into the tune. “The age of miracles/ The age of sound/ Well there’s a Golden Age/ Comin’ round, comin’ round, comin’ round,” Adebimpe sang in “Golden Age,” spiraling his hand in the air before extending it out to the audience: Grab my hand, hop on board and let’s check it out. Then there was the near constant harmonizing with Kyp Malone, and if there’s one thing that’s instantly recognizable as TV on the Radio, it’s the two of them singing together, with Malone always several octaves higher in the highest of falsettos. It splits the expressive possibilities of their songs in half, and in it’s best moments the two of them sing the same lyrics with different emotions. On “Careful You,” off their new album, Seeds, one seems to be singing a statement and the other a plea.

The older numbers had a more abrasive edge than the newer ones. “I Was a Lover,” with all its jittery, stuttering rhythm, encapsulates the Bush-era anxieties of the mid-’00s as well as any other song of that time. On “Wolf Like Me,” the band made things as loud as possible. Dave Sitek even brought out a four-foot wind chime, rattling the hell out of it as the song finished. Contrast that with the new tune that followed, “Trouble,” and its reassurances in the chorus of “‘Everything’s gonna be OK/ Oh, I keep telling myself, ‘Don’t worry, be happy’/ Oh, you keep telling yourself.” TV on the Radio’s encore kicked off with “Forgotten,” off Nine Types of Light, Adebimpe leading the audience in chanting, “Light,” to combat life’s darkness. The set closed with “Staring at the Sun,” their first single, the perfect finish to a tour-ending show in their hometown, where once upon a time it had all begun. —Dan Rickershauser | @D4nRicks

Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | gregggreenwood.com

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Five Questions with … Brian Cherchiglia of the Bottom Dollars

September 5th, 2012

(Photo: Ky DiGregorio)

 

With lush harmonies layered over a booming rhythm section, the Bottom Dollars play the kind of blues- and soul-infused rock that’s best experienced live. The Brooklyn five-piece’s second album, Good News, Everyone!, comes out on 9/18. (Listen to their new single, “Pieces” and its B-side, “Work,” below.) And in support of it, they’re getting ready to launch a cross-country tour, which kicks off on Saturday at Mercury Lounge with the Nuclears and the Naked Heroes. Ahead of the show, we caught up with Brian Cherchiglia (vocals, guitar), who answered Five Questions for The House List.

Which New York City musician—past or present—would you most like to play with?
Wow, that’s a pretty intense question. I’d love to collaborate with the guys from TV on the Radio, a cowrite with Tunde Adebimpe would be a dream come true. And then there’s the whole Bob Dylan thing. David Byrne, Method Man, Eugene Hütz … shit. I’m going Bob Dylan for the win with Tunde as a close second, so long as I can blaze with Method Man and Redman at some point in this fictional scenario.

When it comes to new songs, do you always work them out first in the studio? Or do they sometimes come together live onstage?
You know, we’ve been really fortunate to receive such great praise on our recordings but none of our songs are ever composed in a studio setting. They kind of teleport between my bedroom and our rehearsals. Normally, I’ll write these songs acoustically and just mess with them until I can present them to the band once they’ve evolved into more of a complete thought. That way, we can work on the arrangement as a group and let them take shape into something that’s more “big picture,” and that’s really where Evan [Berg, drums and vocals] shines as a composer. He’ll subconsciously understand where the song needs to go, and within one or two runs through it’s there.

And does new material ever continue to evolve when played live so that it becomes something different than the recorded version?
One of the best things about the Bottom Dollars is that we’re very much a “live band.” Each show is different. Set lists vary. The arrangements are fairly elastic and purposefully so, because when you’re performing, and a great transition or segue presents itself, it’s really important to capitalize on that and put yourself in that zone where it’s up to the collective rather than the individual. Improvisation is really important to accentuate a particular performance of a song (if the arrangement calls for it), and guitar solos are fucking badass. Plain and simple.

Do you have to be depressed to write a sad song? Do you have to be in love to write a love song? Is a song better when it really happened to you?
Wow. Every songwriter is different, so I can really only speak for myself here, but yes and no. I think it’s more important to be cognitive and pay attention to what’s actually happening around you (and to you), absorb what’s truly going down and then remember it in a way that makes you comfortable. I think it’s really important to just let yourself be happy, let yourself be sad and know what that’s actually like so when you write about it, it isn’t too abstract that someone can’t connect to it.

Does Good News, Everyone! differ from your previous work in tone or content? Or is it just a natural progression from one album to the next?
It’s definitely louder than The Halcyon Days, and I feel like it might be a bit riskier. It’s definitely a bigger sound, because now we have Shappy [Dan Shapiro, lead guitar] and Chris [Urriola, bass] to round out the sound. It’s definitely more intelligent, the production is cooler. So I’d say it’s definitely a natural progression. We’re growing, and Good News, Everyone! definitely shows that. —R. Zizmor

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Try to Win Tickets to Themselves/Buck 65 on Sunday

April 28th, 2010

The Northern California musical duo Themselves—rapper Adam Drucker (Doseone) and producer Jel (Jeff Logan)—got started in the late ’90s, bringing heady lyrics to underground hip-hop. They’ve since put out three full-length albums, the most recent of which, CrownsDown, came out last year, following a six-year hiatus.

Richard Terfry, straight out of Nova Scotia, Canada, is a radio host, turntablist and MC who performs under the name Buck 65. He’s got a deep background in hip-hop but touches it up with blues, country, folk and rock influences. And he’s prolific, having released a slew of albums, EPs and singles since 1995.

Why is this important? Because Themselves (above, performing “Gold Teeth Will Roll”) and Buck 65 (below, doing “Dang”), along with Jel and Odd Nosdam and Stabbing Eastwood (featuring Tunde Adebimpe of TV on the Radio), play The Bowery Ballroom on Sunday. Want to go? Then hit up Eddie@BoweryPresents.com, telling him why you deserve a free Sunday night out. He’ll get in touch if you win.

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The Rain Can’t Put a Damper on TV on the Radio’s Central Park Show

June 8th, 2009

TV on the Radio/Dirty Projectors – SummerStage – June 5, 2009

TV on the Radio

TV on the Radio

Friday night, despite the inclement weather, Dirty Projectors and TV on the Radio played to a faithful crowd of rain-soaked onlookers at SummerStage. Although their two monikers suggest technical difficulty, the show went off almost without a hitch. Led by Dave Longstreth, Dirty Projectors, the constantly fluctuating outfit, has hit its stride in its current formation, churning out tunes that shuttle from a cappella to free jazz to afrobeat without missing a step. The group’s X-factor lies in the vocal contributions from Angel Deradoorian, Amber Coffman and Haley Dekle. Their tight, otherworldly harmonies had no trouble rising above Longstreth’s Graceland riffs and Brian McOmber’s erratic drum beats. The set included several cuts from the upcoming Bitte Orca, out tomorrow. Highlights included the new and stellar “Cannibal Resource” and “Stillness Is the Move.”

TV on the Radio began its set just as the last sun rays filtered through the Western skyline. The band launched into an hour-long set, opening with “Love Dog,” while front man Tunde Adebimpe split his time between dancing a samba-like rhythm and manning the loop pedals. As the technologically synesthetic name suggests, TVOTR does not constrain itself to conventional instrumentation. For much of the set, guitarist Dave Sitek played with chimes hung from the tuning peg of his high-E string, occasionally colliding them with Jaleel Bunton’s cymbals. The band played cuts from its three studio albums, evenly dividing the material among each. The show ended with a spectacular rendition of Return to Cookie Mountain’s “A Method.” Adebimpe banged on a cymbal plucked from Bunton’s drum set while Sitek thumped on a drum with two shakers, sending rainwater flying. As the last electronic bursts fizzled, Adebimpe voiced a thank you to New York City with a shout-out to Brooklyn in particular. —Theo Spielberg