New York City rock icons Television played the Fillmore in SF on June 30th, one of a handful of shows in a short June tour.
Opening the show was LA songstress Phoebe Bridgers. She has a 7″, Killer, out on Ryan Adams’ Pax-Am label, and it’s well worth checking out. She plays solo acoustic guitar, but hopefully one day soon she’ll get a proper band behind her for her live shows. Not because she needs the support, but because at times, her guitar seems quite overmatched by her impressive voice. She can really belt it, and while songs like “Georgia” are quite nice with Bridgers’ voice and guitar, the slide guitar and drums on the 7″ version really add some great depth and color. She self-deprecatingly apologized about bringing the audience down with her plaintive tunes, but her cover of Guided By Voices’ “Game of Pricks” would’ve been a highlight of any show. It’s hard to improve on a GBV original, but if there’s a knock against the “Game of Pricks,” it’s that it’s too short. Her folksier version gave the song a little room to breathe and develop, and was a pretty good take on a pretty good song.
A 20-year old singer/songwriter may seem like an odd choice to open for Television (even if she does have a side punk band), but in truth it’d be a pretty tall order for any band opening for the art-punk legends. Though they’re short two original members (the long-gone Richard Hell and the more recently absent Richard Lloyd), founding member Tom Verlaine and newish guitarist (ca 2007) Jimmy Rip still capture the idiosyncratic, interlocking guitar sounds that Television are famous for.
They played a short (song-wise) set of 12 songs, stretching them out with plenty of interweaving guitar work between Verlaine and Rip. The setlist included every song from their iconic debut, Marquee Moon, as well as “1880 or So,” from their self-titled 1992 record, and a newer unreleased song, “Persia.” Their encore also included an unreleased track “I’m Gonna Find You,” which was written and demoed while Hell was still a member of the band.
Check out the setlist and photo gallery from the show:
1880 or So
See No Evil
I’m Gonna Find You