"The night's experimental grace sampled passion and true originality, but was defined by a calm confidence that could have sat down and explained itself without raising its voice," concludes Kyle Pfister in his review of TV on the Radio's show on Friday night. The five-piece avant-rock group from New York played to a crowded room at the Orpheum Theatre downtown, concert-goers eagerly anticipating the performance by the band making their first trip to town since a stop by Union South's Club 770 several years ago.
Bands receiving such high acclaim as TVotR has since typically bypass Madison in favor of larger markets, particularly in the immediate wake of the kind of broad and sustained praise its 2006 release Return to Cookie Mountain received. The stars aligned, however, and this show ended up becoming the anchor concert in the midst of a solid spring of indie rock tour stops in Madison.
The concert was well-received by the throngs of fans filling both levels of the main room at the Orpheum, at least as evidenced by attendees giving the show some high praise online.
One concert-goer reported on the rock shortly after its completion, praising the live version of their aurally-thick recorded sound and noting highlight performances ("Province," "A Method," and "Staring at the Sun"). He wrote, "the band sounded great, the sell-out crowd had a ton of energy, and at the end of the show the applause was the loudest and most enthusiastic I've ever heard after a concert."
"The time just whizzed by and too soon the show was over," wrote another attendee who also praised TV on the Radio's stage presence and live sound. She also remarked favorably on the opening group Subtle, who she declared to be "probably the best opening band I have ever seen."
Another fan also had nothing but applause for TVoTR. She wrote:
These guys are making some of the most original and energetic music out there right now. You really get enveloped by that energy seeing them live. This was one of the best shows I have ever been to, minus getting my leg and back humped by two different girls. And I can not even put into words the sexy moves of Tunde Adebimpe, the amazing mane of Kyp Malone, or the balanced punk pose of David Sitek playing a guitar adorned with a wind chime. You'll just have to go to a show and see them go at it on stage. I was definitely purring.She also shot a large photo gallery of the band in action atop the high Orpheum stage.
"Even once you've been to a lot of shows, you realize that this combination of heat and noise is still rare and exciting, and that you're not so different from the people who mistakenly clap when the roadies come on," notes Onion writer Scott Gordon, who ponders the perfomances both by TVOTR and Subtle. Gordon emphasized Subtle's "whimsical theatrics," and declared the their music "isn't that hard to connect with if you're willing to embrace the confusion." As for the headliners, the quintet from Brooklyn were warm and familiar, despite the tangents of their sound. "No matter how exotic it gets, it's never that far from your gut," concludes Gordon.
A final concert-goer, like many others, had nothing but good comments for TVotR and its performance. "Bands always say 'Madison! You're the best crowd we've had on this tour', but it was 100% believable when Tunde proclaimed it last night," he wrote. It looks like Genna's was the place to be for fans looking to rub shoulders with the band.
More comments about the concert will be added as they are published online. TV on the Radio turn southwest on its tour after leaving Madison, and play Kansas City on St. Patrick's Day before heading on to the West Coast next week.