Concert Review: TV on the Radio at the Hinterland Festival – Avenue of the Saints Amphitheater – St Charles, IA – July 31, 2015

Published by JB on August 1, 2015

TV on the Radio at the Hinterland Festival – Avenue of the Saints Amphitheater – St Charles, IA – July 31, 2015

Fresh out of the box after a sold-out show merely 21 hours earlier (and 4 hours of drive time from downtown Minneapolis) TV on the Radio gave it all they had with their abbreviated 60-minute set at the inaugural Hinterland festival – relocated to the Avenue of the Saints Amphitheater in St. Charles, IA, after rains drowned out Des Moines.  After playing the elite First Avenue in Minneapolis, the classic Vic Theater in Chicago (tomorrow) and appearing last week at Red Rocks, the TV on the Radio crew is probably scratching their heads asking how in the hell did we end up in St. Charles, IA? – population of 653, thank you very much.   No, this isn’t heaven, it’s just Iowa.

Gray hairs and all and opening with the anthemic ‘Young Liars’, TV on the Radio creates that rare paradox in music right now – especially for a 99.9% white crowd dominated by fans in their early 20’s.  TV on the Radio are that throwback to the 70’s when it was quite common to see intensely talented black musicians playing instruments and creating a real rock and pop band.  The whiteness of modern day indie rock and pop has little room for Hip Hop, which is where a majority of young black talent made an exodus towards beginning in the late 80’s.  TV on the Radio blow away the modern day stereotype, delivering catchy guitar tunes from all angles.  It was a performance worthy of headlining.   They sold out Minneapolis with ease and rightly so.

The Hinterland festival itself is a near-masterwork in coordination after the last minute move to a new, ad hoc location a mere 72 hours before the event.  The amphitheater area provided ample space and good sightlines for even the late arrivals.   The uneven footing on the general admission field was problematic but there was plenty of room for the crowd to wander to higher ground without sacrificing their length from the stage.  Parking seemed like a struggle but what I thought would be a 30 minute walk was actually only 7 or 8 minutes.  It’s quite a reach for a new festival to stretch out to two days on its first year, but Hinterland has done just that nicely.


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