Bands names are a minefield.
Some claim their name means nothing, just a couple of words thrown together. Such was the defence of The Soup Dragons. (Oh yeh? And you just happened to throw together two words which just happened to be a character from 1970s animated and shown just before the news series “The Clangers” did you…?)
Some name themselves after literary works. Generally, this seems to be either “A Clockwork Orange” (Heaven 17, Moloko) or “The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy” (Level 42…er…and I’m sure lots of others that I can’t think of right now. Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android”. There is, I kid you not, an estate agent in North London called Hotblack Desiato. I hate estate agents, but props for the name).
Then there’s the bands who place some intellectual worth on their name. Prime amongst these must be The Smiths, apparently chosen as a reaction against all bands who chose complicated named to emphasise their music (are you watching, Orchestral Maneouvres In The Dark? That’s you, that is)
And then there’s TV On The Radio.
Think about those words for a moment.
That’s a hell of a mission statement.
Our music, they are saying, is so good, when you hear our songs on the radio (i.e. rarely), it’ll be like you have pictures shown in front of you.
A hell of a claim, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Last night, I went to see TV On The Radio at The Roundhouse in London. Their claim is not at all misplaced.
But first, a lil back story here that you won’t get in any of the other posts in this section.
Until about 18 months ago, I knew the name TV On The Radio, but knew nothing of them. Then one night round at my friend Neil’s flat, he played this: Wolf Like Me. My ears pricked up. What the fuck was this, and how have I managed to avoid hearing it until now??
This became a recurring joke. Whenever I was at Neil’s, we would drink some and listen to tunes, and he would pop that record on, and at first I would have forgotten who it was, and then ultimately I’d remember who it was, but would play along and ask the same question anyway.
But then, around the turn of the year, there was a tragic loss in Neil’s family: his niece Jasmine died suddenly, inexplicably, unfairly. She was just six years old.
Now Neil is one of the bubbliest, happiest blokes I know, and for a while, as you would expect, that wasn’t the case. The wind was understandably knocked from his sails.
Shortly after that, I saw him being utterly inspirational by picking himself up and doing what he could to raise funds for this charity.
I am genuinely in awe of the man. He makes me proud that I can call him my friend.
And I can count the number of my friends that I feel that way about on one finger.
I would urge you to make me feel a little less insignificant by donating whatever you can afford via that link.
Around the same time, I saw that TV on The Radio were coming to town, and I wanted to do something to make him happy again. So I bought me and Neil tickets.
That gig got cancelled, and rearranged for last night.
In the intervening 8 months, I could quite easily have cribbed up on their back catalogue, but I chose not to. I had a suspicion that seeing them live would be all the more incredible if I knew none of the songs.
This proved to be a well founded suspicion.
Last night I spent 90 minutes pinned to my chair, held in by how fucking brilliant TV On The Radio were. I wish I could be more articulate than that, but fucking brilliant is what they were, so let’s just call it what it was. Fucking Brilliant.
Neil, it seemed and I hope, loved it.
Here’s the song they opened with. This very much sums up what this thread Is about: music you can close your eyes to and just be transported away.