television - Canadian Music Week 2014 Report Card

CMW Report Card ’14: Television @ The Phoenix

Saturday, May 10. Legendary art punks play near all of Marquee Moon, many ready to "die happy now."

Chartattack squiggle

- May 11, 2014

Background/ Composition: Television are seminal '70s art rock from New York. One of the bands that convinced Hilly Kristal at CBGB — or so the story goes — to stray from the country, bluegrass, and blues mandate. But don't dare call them punks.

Senior-Level Chemistry: A

Some people said it wouldn't be Television anymore once co-founding guitarist Richard Lloyd left, but Tom Verlaine and Lloyd-replacement Jimmy Rip didn't miss a step on those hallmark interlocking leads.

Jam-Making: B+

We remember Television for their genius phrases, but maybe we forget that "Marquee Moon" was a 10-minute single. Verlaine and co. aren't afraid to hunker down into protracted passages, weaving melodies and textures, intellectualizing, and often, showcasing drummer Billy Ficca's ever brilliant chops.

Television - Marquee Moon

Setlist: A

Cantankerous as he might reputedly be, Verlaine gives the crowd what they want. We got near all of Marquee Moon (we caught a bit of the title track on Istagram). While there's talk of a new Television record (in an email interview we couldn't really print, Verlaine, who's hilariously, sometimes infuriatingly short, could only describe the new tracks as "MOSTLY  2 GTRS,BASS AND DRUMS" [red font and caps his]), the only new song was "Persia," a pretty, Phrygian Dominant — think middle-eastern folk standard "Misirlou" before Dick Dale got his surfy paws on it — piece of psychedelia. Verlaine wouldn't answer my questions about albums that are close to him, but TV worked a cover of Count Five's "Psychotic Reaction" into their encore, so we can surmise that that bit of iconic American garage holds some special place in Verlaine's heart.

Salesmanship: A++

Toronto, you certainly voted with your dollars, and your thirst for black Television "Marquee Moon" shirts has replenished TV's retirement fund.  I counted nine on my way from the venue to the streetcar.

Hecklers: F

It took one song break before someone shouted "Marquee Moon." And then, again, four songs in, before the band started on "See No Evil," someone  yelled "Why don't you get it over with already?" Verlaine responded with in-character gloom: "We're going to think about that for the rest of our lives." Wait, is that a suicide joke? Later, a guy beside me forgot his heckle mid-sentence and got shhhed by like a thousand people. Television turns every knucklehead into a wiseguy.

FINAL GRADE: A

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