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NXNE Television Live @ The Phoenix June 9th: Review


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It was a great Friday night at a packed Phoenix Concert Hall. CBGB proto-punk icons Television were loose, experimental, jammy and unpredictable for nearly two hours. Several impressive untitled new songs were aired-out, and epic guitar showpieces "Little Johnny Jewel" and 1st encore "Marquee Moon" from their 1977 masterpiece of the same name, didn't disappoint, each jamming well past the ten minute mark. The biggest surprises came on "Days" from 1978's Adventure and "1800 or So" from their self-titled 1992 release - both were more psychadelic Grateful Dead than NYC punk.

Witnessing leader/guitarist/singer Tom Verlaine trade off solos with foil Richard Lloyd makes you wonder why the jam community let alone mainstream rock & roll in general has never noticed or fully embraced these two innovative guitar heroes.

This was Television's first Canadian gig in 14 years and the wait was well worth it. Anyone there expecting a nostalgia trip through Television's 70's heyday had to go home shell-shocked and inevitably disappointed. Fuck them. Television ain't no fucking Doors 1500 or whatever that pathetic prostrating Ray Manzarek calls his cover band. In today's indie rock world, Television remain vital, fresh and relevant. Just ask the hack bands that have attempted to rip them off like Interpol, The Strokes and Kings Of Leon. I hope that one day soon, Television decides to put out another album and tour instead of only playing their usual handful of sporadic shows in select European cities. But then again, nothing they do is conventional. **** (out of 5)

David Ball

June 10th/2006

Here's a setlist with some notes that I made during the show. Note: Television don't have names for new work-in-progress songs:

1. Richard Lloyd doing some experimentations with slide. New song - good

2. Prove It from Marquee Moon had some crowd sing-alongs helping the chorus. Jams were loose.

3. new song

4. Venus from Marquee Moon

5. Call Mr. Lee. 1st big jam of the night. Lloyd smoking solos - his best so far.

6. Unknown song that morphed into Days from Adventure. Very trippy Dead like. Reconstructed.

7. Little Johnny Jewel - their first ever single and concert jam showcase. 10 minutes - Verlaine played great - his behind the beat guitar soared. New lyrics throughout - changed lyrics.

8. 1800 or So - from their self-titled album. Fantastic Lloyd soloing and trade-offs with Verlaine and driving Fred Smith bass - 10 minutes.

9. ??

10. See No Evil - Lloyd showcase - loose

11. ?? Verlaine on slide - fascinating since it had no blues in it. Middle Eastern vibe - mostly instrumental.

12. ENCORE

Marquee Moon - monster song - locked more into a groove this time out than all out lead jamming.

13. 2nd Encore

I Don't Live Today - following up Marquee Moon is impossible, unless you do a tasty cover. Loose, probably rarely rehearsed, but the crowd loved it - Lloyd and Veraline soloing over Hendrix lines was fascinating.

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Jaimoe, have you heard either of the two new Tom Verlaine albums? I hear that they are excellent, but I haven't had the chance to check them out yet.

I've heard a few songs off of both. I want to get both albums, especially the instrumental one. He's doing a solo tour and he'll be hitting Toronto at some point.

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