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TV On The Radio, Massive Attack, My Sandwich & The Couple Next To Me Who Smelled Like Trash: A Review
This adventure started like many others, with a bag of treats from Trader Joe’s, a jug of Fadorade, an already looped pal, and a long walk up a steep hill.
TV on the Radio : hit the stage like the kind of fireworks that boom pretty and loud and then surprise you by exploding 3 or 4 more times before falling down to earth in glittery bits of glimmering ash.
TVOTR, an unlikely major-label act, is often found playing smaller venues, like The Glass House in Pomona as their art-soul, sweaty-rock, sonic experiment in musical fusion & buzzy atmosphere is not your typical, mass-audience fare.
But you wouldn't have guessed it Sunday night at the bowl. They played a convincingly loud and energetic set to thousands of indie ears that turned out to hear them. And while some bands facing a crowd that size would turn it up to 11 and hope for the best, these cats actually PLAYED big.
Those intentions translated into mean-fuzzy distortion, fervent rock riffs escalating to spontaneous combustion, gorgeous harmonies, drummers in the round, falsettos over megaphones, and smart observations of a misguided world.
All the while, singer-lyricist Tunde Adebimpe bounced hypnotically and gesticulated decisively and delightfully, like Joe Cocker directing traffic.
At 8:27pm, as they fired up the first indistinguishable measures of what would be the last song in their set, the earbudded task-force gave the "break out" order and TV on the Radio stopped playing, gave an un-phased and gracious goodnight, and departed the stage.
Massive Attack : was greeted by an already elated -- and relatively faded -- crowd, anxious to begin their public confession after 8 long years without a Los Angeles tour date.
Foggy with a smoke-machine induced marine layer, Robert "3D" Del Naja took the stage, resembling both in appearance and movement, the unexpected offspring of the Blue Man Group, Andy Warhol and a robot.
Enter ominous piano. Cue the lights.
Moody, mind altering, songscapes and pretty, ethereal vocals proved an eerie contrast against the visual assault of the stage design. The Hollywood Bowl became an electric Thunderdome (minus the cage and the Tina Turner) thanks to one Texas-sized, wrap-around LED display and three squat, rectangular jobs that resembled stock tickers.
Grant "Daddy G" Marshall was on paternity leave (Congratulations!) and Del Naja and co. were joined on stage by notable collaborators, reggae legend Horace Andy and Elizabeth Frazer of Cocteau Twins.
Humming and numbing ambience with staccato feedback under saintly vocals made for a glassy and gritty trip-hop experience. Coupled with the serious anti-war messages being broadcast by the mile high lights, it was clear that this ever dark and sensuous provider was in fact, angry.
And angry worked extremely well, adding heightened and urgent tension to the introspective, innovative, and private institution that is Massive Attack.
My Sandwich : rocked. It took four songs to make, and three songs to eat.
The Couple Next To Me Who Smelled Like Trash : were so rank that even their weed smelled like garbage. No joke.
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