March 20-26, 2003
The Grateful Dead of the new wave era, Television has always been a more sprawling beast on stage than on their carefully crafted albums. Where on record, a song like their signature "Marquee Moon" dazzles with its interlocking polyrhythms (and you can bet Television was one "punk" band that knew what that term meant), live versions on The Blow-Up and various bootlegs reveal a shaggier, swingier creation; less Krautrock, more Canned Heat. While the initial shows of this, the band’s third go-round, hewed closely to their studio albums’ blueprint, last year’s New York gigs were a glorious mess, with Tom Verlaine shifting gears, and even tunes, mid-song, and the rest of the band playing catch-up. The resulting hazy explorations might not have pleased fans craving "Friction," but it gave you the sense that something was happening on stage; the band sounded sloppier, but more alive. Perhaps they’ll be back in classic rock mode Sunday night, but even if they don’t hit every mark, seeing Television in their element is the only way to really understand the interplay between Verlaine’s fluttery note-clusters and Richard Lloyd’s straight-line guitar heroics. That’s worth taping the Oscars for, isn’t it?
Sun., March 23, 8 p.m., $25-$28, with DJ AD Amorosi (also a City Paper contributor), Theatre of Living Arts, 334 South St., 215-336-2000.