Back in September I declared TV on the Radio’s Dear Science my album of the year. After tonight’s show they may well be my live act of the year.
Tonight at Birmingham’s Academy, the bands are playing on the smaller Academy 2 stage. First up, London band Big Pink whose fuzzed out pop songs get a subdued but positive reaction from the crowd.
TVOTR’s decision to start their show with a few older tracks alienates some of the audience, but as soon as the drums of Wolf Like Me kick in everyone loses their shit and the band is instantly forgiven.
Golden Age and Dancing Choose keep everyone dancing, no one more than front man Tunde Adebimpe who has sweat pouring off his face.
On the Dear Science album DLZ is effortlessly cool, but tonight’s version is fierce: the lock step beat drags you in while guitars bring up a wall of noise and Adebimpe literally spits and sprays rage-filled lyrics.
The bearded Kyp Malone is everything Adebimpe is not. He barely moves, barely blinks, barely has a care in the world but on Province, when Malone’s falsetto vocal joins Ademipe’s midrange rhyme, you can’t imagine them ever being apart.
The five piece band and all their paraphernalia barely fit on the smaller Academy 2 stage meaning it is only when they leave the stage that the audience get a look at the mop-topped drummer Jaleel Bunton and bass player Gerard Smith.
Obviously the crowd want to see more, and the screams of encore are answered when the band return to play Family Tree. There is a short pause as the drum kit is dismantled, its parts distributed around the band’s five members who strike cymbals, crash drums and hit rhythm sticks right through A Method before going straight into Let The Devil In and closing out with the brilliant Staring At The Sun.