Last Chance? Alt-rock Legends Television Are Back

The revered NYC band plays Vancouver—possibly for the last time.

June 25, 2015

Despite being considered one of the first—and best—American punk bands, Television’s only true relationship to punk was timing and geography. The band launched themselves in the early ’70s from the stage of CBGB, the Lower Manhattan hole-in-the-wall that was also incubator for the budding talents of Ramones, Blondie, Talking Heads, and Patti Smith. But Television were unlike all of them: their musicianship was incredible; they cited the likes of John Coltrane and Buffalo Springfield among their influences; and guitarists Richard Lloyd and Tom Verlaine were inclined to solo for minutes at a time.

But then there was Verlaine’s singing: a pubescent yelp, variously mischievous, awed, and belligerent. And drummer Billy Ficca would often become so excited that his playing accelerated, doubling the pace of a song between its beginning and end. And the guitar playing—nervous, ecstatic, like fingers scrambling for an itch that can’t be reached—bore no trace of rock’s blues-based tradition. Television were punk in spirit, perhaps, but they sounded like no one else. Britain understood them immediately and made them stars (thanks in large part to NME journalist Nick Kent declaring their 1977 debut album, Marquee Moon, an “inspired work of pure genius”). In their native U.S., they failed to chart, and the band broke up within 18 months. But traces of their sound can be heard to this day in the music of U2, R.E.M., Sonic Youth, Pavement, and countless others.

Here tonight (June 25) as part of one of their sporadic reunions, you shouldn’t pass up the chance to see one of the most original and thrilling rock bands ever to exist. What with each of Television’s members approaching retirement age, they surely won’t offer the opportunity many more times.

Television
Thursday, June 25, 8pm
Tickets $35 from Ticketmaster.ca

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