Television Olympic Plaza, Calgary AB, June 27
Published Jun 28, 2015New York band Television helped usher in the punk era with the seminal album Marquee Moon, and most of the people watching their Sled Island headlining performance came to hear just one important song from that album. Whether the band knew it or not isn't important, but their headlining set did very little to prove they were still in fact the same group.
Their setlist drew mostly from Marquee Moon, and they did well to stick to it — while frontman Tom Verlaine's vocals struggled to make an impact, the band played faithful renditions, and their unique twin guitar approach worked well on the festival crowd. Yet for all their chops, the performance felt lifeless, and especially in the wake of Drive Like Jehu's incendiary performance just an hour earlier, Television came off as surprisingly tepid.
The one exception was when the moment finally arrived and the guitar riff for "Marquee Moon" rang out. For a brief moment, you could watch a window in time open up and witness Television at their most vital and engrossing. It was a shame, as the crowd turned out for that song, only to file out as soon as they had concluded, a sign that even though we're talking about a band that played "1880 Or So" as their encore, Television didn't necessary instil enough confidence for people to want to stick around.