Television | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Television 

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Nostalgia sucks; and for obvious reasons, it's even worse when punks are involved. With this in mind, beware Television reunion concerts. Two things about the group can't be overstated: the allure of its original recordings--the glorious Marquee Moon (1977) and Adventure (1978)--and its symbolic importance. The albums rang, and still ring today, with an eerie limitlessness; Tom Verlaine's gulped vocals, the somehow reptilian cast of his and Richard Lloyd's guitar work, and a gripping atmospheric overlay evoked a dark and beckoning netherworld. As for the band's importance, remember that it defined the outer edges of a scene--New York punk in the mid-1970s--that some people didn't think went past three chords and a tube of glue. Television's elongated musical odysseys and Verlaine's surrealistic lyrics--far more than Talking Heads' self-conscious intellectualism--proclaimed that punk was an idea, not a sound. Television, the album accompanying the current tour, is not as bad as you might think: parts of the first two songs, in fact, display a dark beauty and a propulsive authority. But the record's only other notable feature is the band's well-wrought persuasive argument for the mannered music they make. They might as well have spent the past 14 years inventing the internal combustion engine. Opening is the local jazz-lite duo Ellen Rosner and Camille, a rather odd choice; the band wanted an acoustic act to open the show. Sunday, 7:30 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 549-0203.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/John Telfer.

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