Television Show Review


The Metro, Chicago, IL

May 8th, 2014

Television Live Show Review

Anytime I go to see a legacy act (which I now define as any band touring 15 years since the end of their heyday), I am often grading on a curve. It’s not fair to have expectations for the act to match what they were in their more nimble, youthful days, but at the same time, what’s the point in paying the often pricey legacy ticket prices if you don’t think the show will wow or amuse you in some way. Due to these low expectations, I have often found myself pleasantly surprised and in some cases (like Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, and Neil Young), flat out amazed. Some stars’ star power transcend age and time.

I went and caught Television, the legendary CBGB’s punk band that isn’t actually a punk band at all, at the Metro, which was their first time in Chicago in 22 years, and their first tour in six years. The band is actually set to release their fourth album in 37 years, but is still leaning mostly on their landmark debut, Marquee Moon.

The current form of Television is three of its four members from its debut, the brains, guitar, and voice behind the operation, Tom Verlaine, bassist Fred Smith (who replaced Richard Hell before they signed their first record deal), and drummer Billy Ficca. Guitarist Jimmy Rip also toured with the band, and was arguably the best live performer in the band, even if he looks more like a crazy mix between Nick Nolte and Tom Waits’ than a member of a classic art punk band. All the other members beyond Rip appeared to be just barely keeping the songs together, playing pretty stiff and rusty. Verlaine, specifically hasn’t aged well, and while his guitar skills haven’t faded much, his voice certainly has, and it removed some of the power and weirdness out of the songs.

Verlaine’s decline is all the more stark when compared to his CBGB’s counterpart David Byrne, who has managed to age like a raspberry lambic, getting funkier and more flavorful over the years. Byrne’s voice also still sounds incredible live and probably 90% of where it once was, where Verlaine’s strange warble is more like 40% of what it once was. Verlaine was still impressive on guitar, as the dual lead guitar tradeoffs that Television coined still sounded as fresh today as they ever were.  It was amazing to hear Television perform these classic songs and key in the memory bank on all the band’s that channel their sound, from the Strokes, to Pavement, to Parquet Courts.

Even if the band lacked that perfect live sound, it would have been great to see the band put a little more sweat into it.  Television just appeared a little passive and like they were going through the motions. It was great to see songs like “Marquee Moon”, “Friction”, and “Venus” brought to life, but this wasn’t a full-blooded life by any means. The songs sound more dynamic on record than they do now live, which is never a good sign.

So while I certainly graded on a curve with Television, I certainly hoped Verlaine and company would bring a little more energy and focus than what they showed at the Metro. I still love Television, but in terms of legacy acts worth seeing, your money is better spent elsewhere.




LxListening: All Things New

Beck, New Music, gimme, Holy Ghost!

I know what you may be thinking/hoping, but no, this is unfortunately not a short playlist dedicated to the christian contemporary-Americana-folk-southern pop band (as they are described on their Wikipedia page) All Things New. This is in fact a short playlist dedicated to the bits of something new from the past week. We have all been gifted a nice latter year surplus of great albums and songs lately, and here are a few of my favorites from those recent drops (or in some cases, about to be dropped). I hope you enjoy:

CHVRCHES – “Tether”

CHVRCHES’ highly anticipated debut album officially releases next week, and here is what I consider to be the best track on the album. From the slow build up, to the epically great M83-esque breakdown toward the end, this tracks perfectly displays the depths of what this band can do and why they are easy to fall in love with.
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Parquet Courts Review: Light Up Gold

Parquet Courts

Light Up Gold

Parquet Courts Light Up Gold Review

If you are looking for a sloppy thrill ride this summer, look no further than the debut from former Texans (now Brooklynites) Parquet Courts. The band brings nothing particularly new to the scene but rather echoes punk and indie rockers from the past, drawing influence from the Modern Lovers, Pavement, The Ramones, Television, and Frank Zappa in the most glowing ways. On their rousing debut Light Up Gold, Parquet Courts packs 15 songs in just 34 minutes vying for the prize of most killer rock album of 2013.
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Top Ten Thursday: No Hable Ingles (Best Non-English Speaking Acts)

foreign flags languages songs and music

In honor of another great feat (some of us would say anyways) from everyone’s favorite Icelandic act (unless you like the other act from Iceland more, Bjork), we thought we would list out our other favorite acts in which we cannot understand a single word from. Before we get to list, I must say that this was a tough one to tackle. Due to our unfamiliarity with non-english speaking foreign acts, we had to do our homework. This entailed a lot of new listening, a lot of Rammstein jokes, some slight arguing, and overall much enjoyment. This list opened my eyes to some music I will now never let go of, and for that I am very happy. Hopefully you like it as much as we liked putting it together. Onto the list …
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Top Ten Thursday: The Sophomore Slump

The sophomore album.  There is almost always exponentially more anticipation and expectations for a band or artist’s second album.  We at LxL thought that those expectations would lead to a lot of massively disappointing second efforts.  Interestingly enough, after a lot of research, we were pleased to discover that the sophomore album failure rate is really not all that high.  Despite this welcome discovery, there were still enough clunkers to make a list of the most disappointing follow-up albums.  Note that this list does not contain the worst all-time sophomore albums, but instead the albums that did not live up to the expectations brought on by a great or promising debut.  As always, fill in the blanks with any albums we may have left off the list, or call us out for albums you think should not have been included.  Enjoy!

10. Raekwon – Immobilarity

raekwon, album, cover, art

So your two best friends are RZA and Ghostface Killah, and you’ve just released your debut smash, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx.  What should you do next?  I’ll tell you what you don’t do.  You don’t bypass one of the greatest hip-hop producers since the genre’s genesis (RZA).  You also don’t fail to utilize a rapper that fits snugly between Biggy and Jay-Z in the holy triumvirate of New York rappers (Ghostface).  Fail.

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