Live: TV on the Radio @ Brixton Academy 13th July 2009

It stands to reason that as a band ages their popularity should take that natural ascension up into the stars. It’s exactly what all their fans hope for, to see the band with all that talent finally getting the kudos they always deserve. But the trouble is that when the band reaches that level of adoration from so many people they automatically lose some of that magic that made them so precious in the first place. This is the perilous ledge that TV on the Radio find themselves on as they take to the stage for their biggest show in the UK, following the mammoth success of their last album ‘Dear Science’.

But first there’s just enough time for the Noisettes to get the party started. Fresh off the back of a breakthrough album of their own and chart bothering single ‘Don’t Upset the Rhythm’, half the work that most support bands have to do has already been done for them. Introductions have been made now let’s see what else they can do. The band brim with excitable confidence and showmanship, but most of all its lead singer Shingai Shoniwa that steals the show with a beautifully textured vocal range and bucket loads of exuberance.

When TV on the Radio open with delicate number ‘Love Dog’, they deliver it with such fragility that you fear that a venue of this size is already getting the better of them and it takes a while before they really get going. After a tentative start the band then reel out ‘The Wrong Way’, from their debut album, but rather than kick start the party atmosphere it leaves half the crowd, who aren’t familiar with their older stuff, feeling left out.

Clarity is reached when TVOTR tear through a truly stunning version of ‘Halfway Home’ that eats Brixton whole, and the crowd are in even more raptures when the Noisettes are invited onto stage for a run through of ‘A Method’. It’s clear that though TVOTR aren’t quite used to playing venues of this size yet, it is something that they are growing into and it’s something that their songs deserve.

Words: Adam Wilkinson