Monday, January 05, 2009

Ear on TV: Week of January 5: The Police

If there's one flaw in Sundance's music-oriented talk show Spectacle, it's that host Elvis Costello can be a little too familiar with his guests, and that's exacerbated in this week's episode, with tourmates The Police stopping by the program. At several points during the separate interviews with members Andy Summers, Stewart Copeland and Sting, there's the urge to wake them up (Summers,) put them in restraints (Copeland) and slap their smug face (Sting). But it's also a strength of the show that Costello allows there various annoyances to come to the surface in an interview with him, as they feel comfortable to be how they are backstage on tour together.

The episode was taped the night before The Police shared the stage with Elvis Costello for their last performance (apparently, forever,) making this their second-to-last performance (and last televised performance) ever. It's a small stage (the smallest they figure they've played in 30 years) but it doesn't feel very intimate. It might be due to their being two drummers, two bass players, two guitarists along with keyboards (and a lot of ego) on stage mucking up the sparse sound of The Police's and Costello's heyday.

On the other end of that spectrum is Sam Beam, aka Iron & Wine, who sounds intimate even playing to large crowds at an outdoor festival. While he's expanded the instrumentation of his recordings in recent years, it's typically just him and his acoustic guitar when he makes these appearances. Even if he does bring a band with him when he performs on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno Monday night, his delivery still feels intimate, reserving volume instead for the strength of the song he's currently playing.

Finally, the band Little Joy, who play Carson Daly on Tuesday night, is Fabrizio Moretti (drummer for The Strokes) and Rodrigo Amarante (singer/guitarist of the Brazilian band Los Hermanos). The initial idea was a project unrelated to their current bands, a quieter, sparser sound (more intimate?) but Amarante sounds an awful lot like Julian Casablancas, and so it's tempting at times to think of them as a quieter, gentler Strokes. Still, their debut, Little Joy it's more than likely the best Strokes-related album since their debut (Is This It).

Playlist: Picks for the week
Monday, January 5
CBS: Late Show With David Letterman: Glasvegas
NBC: The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Iron & Wine
Tuesday, January 6
FUEL: The Daily Habit: Unwritten Law
IFC: The Henry Rollins Show: The Blood Brothers (REPEAT)
NBC: Last Call With Carson Daly: Little Joy
Wednesday, January 7
ABC: Jimmy Kimmel Live: Lenka
CBS: Late Show With David Letterman: Okkervil River
SUNDANCE: Spectacle: Elvis Costello With...: Elvis Costello, The Police
Thursday, January 8
NBC: The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Lady Gaga
Friday, January 9
NBC: The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Eagles of Death Metal
NBC: Last Call With Carson Daly: Yelle (REPEAT)
Saturday, January 10
PBS: Austin City Limits: Paolo Nutini, Grupo Fantasma (REPEAT)


Bumpershine said...

Yes, did they really need two bass players? I also wanted to slap Stewart a little.

drake lelane said...

Picks for the week of 01.05.09
1. Geraldine - Glasvegas
2. Innocent Bones - Iron & Wine
3. Teenage Suicide - Unwritten Law
4. Set Fire to the Face on Fire - The Blood Brothers
5. Brand New Start - Little Joy
6. The Show - Lenka
7. Pop Lie - Okkervil River
8. Watching The Detectives (Single Version) - Elvis Costello
9. Walking On The Moon - The Police
10. Poker Face - Lady GaGa
11. WannaBe in L.A. - Eagles Of Death Metal
12. Je Veux Te Voir - Yelle
13. New Shoes - Paolo Nutini
14. El Desconocido - Grupo Fantasma

drake lelane said...

the other bass player allowed Sting to noodle up the neck, and otherwise pretend to play during "Watching the Detectives".

I think you'd need Copeland in restraints in order to get a good slap ;)