It’s unclear how exactly TV on the Radio (TVOTR) managed to squeeze the Majestic Ventura Theater into their schedule last Thursday. Typically speaking, when performing at Indio’s Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, bands are contractually forbidden to play the surrounding area during the weeks leading up to the fest. But legal matters aside, the band showed up and most definitely made good on their innovative rock star status. The five members who currently make up the NYC-based group spent their time onstage capturing the audience in dance and, in some cases, near hypnotism with their joyous calamity of arrangements.
The boys started things out by showcasing most of their new album, 2008’s Dear Science, but appeased older fans (many of whom doubtlessly saw the band play two years ago at SOhO) with songs from 2006’s Return To Cookie Mountain. All of the songs were delicately harmonious, intelligently arranged, raw in composition, and played at beyond loud volumes. The impact was thunderous to say the least; and at times it seemed the Majestic’s sound system couldn’t quite keep up.
Highlights of the evening included “Blues from Down Here,” “Wolf Like Me” (both from Return to Cookie Mountain), and from their new album, “Crying.” Songs were sped up, while others were slowed down from their original album versions, but all generally rocked. It’s always a pleasure to watch a band expand on their recorded works, showcasing parts of a song that may never have made the album, and Friday’s show did just that. After a very brief encore, the fivesome returned to the stage yet again, closing the night with the same song they closed SOhO with back in 2007, “Staring at the Sun.” This was a high point for some, who arrived at the show somewhat expecting to hear this track live, particularly because it’s entirely rearranged and sped up, losing some of the recorded version’s intelligent repetitiveness, but enhancing the power and overall feeling of the song.