Friday, June 5, 2009

TV on the Radio at Central Park Summer Stage

It was a dreary Friday. I checked the weather every 15 minutes or so, hoping to see a change in the 100% humidity report, but to no avail. I glanced down at the ticket stubs reading "RAIN OR SHINE" in bold black type across the front under the headlining name. I sigh, and prepare myself for TV on the Radio at central park summerstage rain or shine.

In the pouring rain, across a massive sea of umbrellas, there is an unpretentious platform with one of the BIGGEST quilts I've ever seen hanging at the very back of it. A sign is mounted at the crown of the stage, it ironically reads "Summerstage". I stare at it for a few moments as the rain drips from the points of my umbrella to my unguarded backside. I'm chilled, and it's supposedly June. My dear friend and fellow avid music fan, Kristin stakes out the scene with me. Not many people have shown up yet. Where do we
go? I spot the bleachers- and point- "Maybe I will be able to see better from up on a seat?". So, with our galoshes on we slop on over and up to the bleachers. Kristin has a flare of genius mixed about her-she thinks of things that us little people wouldn't think of. Today is no exception- she pauses only briefly before she pulls a large black poncho out of her tote bag and uses it to spread upon the bleacher seats so our bums stay dry. It's moments like these that make me realize the sheer brilliance of my friends is limitless. We sit, strategically placing one of our umbrellas between us while I use the other to block our bodies from any additional dripping. The effect is rather pretty... however, it blocks our already obstructed view. It isn't the most ideal concert view... but we're as dry as is possible in the midst of a grand monsoon in NYC. We're chillin' having a laugh about the whole thing... when the opener approaches the stage. The Dirty Projectors are a group I know only from their singles playing on my Siruis radio... but I catch their vibe and enjoy their sound despite the wet weather pouring all about me. Their sound is folky, eccentric, and upbeat. The female vocals pair nicely with the sound. When you don't know the songs of a particular band however, they all seem to meld together and create an ambient soundscape that will eventually lose your interest. Blame it on ADD. The set ends and I've given up on the idea of bleacher seats. I ask Kris, if she would want to get a beverage of the alcoholic persuasion- since we're already living like sailors in the water. She concurs, and we quickly vacate our bleacher seats for a beer. When we get there, we discover there's something better than beer for sale at the concession. Cabernet Sauvignon in medium sized plastic cups! YES PLEASE! We toast to our good fortune- despite the rain and begin some basic French lessons.

There are many strange characters about. We're all soaked and in this together. People are friendly and obliging... with the exception of the occasional "accidental" bag smacker and shover. I'm not sure when it happens... but TV on the Radio FINALLY comes onto the stage and the show begins! A few things you should know about TV on the Radio. 1. They kick ass. 2. Their sound is eclectic. 3. Their group is diverse. 4. They're from Brooklyn. 5. (most importantly) Their music is ass-shakable no matter WHAT the circumstance! Tonight was no different. Every song had me on my feet, swaying my hips, and bopping my head. They are fun and vivacious- and can manage sincere and interesting lyrics all in the same instant. Kristin revealed to me at one point in the drenched evening that they are her 20-something answer to TOOL (a former teen fave of hers). I find the comparison riveting.

Day turned to Dusk, Dusk rapidly turned to night, and there was literally NOTHING I could view but the sea of umbrellas and strange ponchos, with billowing swirls of smoke mixing with the rain to create one of the most atmospheric environments I've ever encountered. It was rather lovely. The sound could've been better, but considering TV on the Radio was working in less than perfect conditions, they held their own and had me jonesing for more when the show finally ended.

Set List:
love dog
the wrong way
blues from down here
halfway home
golden age
wolf like me
red dress
staring at the sun
shout me out

family tree
young liars
a method

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