Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Takeover UK Played Hotel Utah - Pictures, Review

There's a difficult contradiction that's emerged in rock and roll. While there's an undeniable quest for authenticity and legitimacy as musicians, there's also a bizarre skepticism turned towards bands that wear their hearts too much on their sleeves. It's as though one should be legitimate, but not care about being legitimate. It manifests in many ways, from Pavement's slacker-rock aesthetic, to Radiohead's Thom Yorke lamenting the trappings of celebrity. Here at HAD we tend to think of ourselves as skeptics in this regard. Sure, a band with some legitimacy doesn't want to sell its songs for deodorant commercials, but at the same time, there's nothing wrong with being successful. What's more, there's nothing wrong with wanting to be successful and trying hard.

And yet, as we entered The Takeover UK's show at the Hotel Utah last week, we found ourselves inadvertently siding with Yorke and Malkmus. As the band blasted out a killer set based around their record Running With The Wasters, our mental checklist was subtracting points just because the band was so tight. The songs were perfectly constructed, the vocal harmonies dead on, and the guitar tones immaculate. What's more, the members were painfully earnest in their delivery. The show was a bulletproof delivery of completely legit rock and roll. And we were skeptical.

Huh?

It was after this mental wrestling match that we realized that we had descended far too deep into the indie rock abyss, and had perhaps taken our high horse of musical legitimacy a little too far. We felt like a Bowie fan in 1977, looking down our nose at the glam rock world of Marc Bolan. But here's the thing: despite the fact that Bowie had moved on musically, he certainly didn't forget Bolan, much less scoff at his earnest rock sensibility. It was then that we realized that being exposed to more music, more complicated music, doesn't obviate that which came before. It just allows you to appreciate it that much more. Because, in many ways, successfully delivering a completely earnest rock record is the most difficult thing a band can undertake.

By now, if you're even somewhat sober, you realize where we're going with this. The Takeover UK are successfully delivering a rock and roll record, and one of the best unabashed rock performances we've seen in a long time. We already sang the praises of their debut album, and its vibe is only further solidified by the band's live show. Granted, it helps to know what you're in for: four dudes who are totally on top of their craft, delivering a set that is so well bound together that you find yourself doubting if it's real.

But it is in fact very real. These four guys have clearly worked long and hard to create a set and an experience that represents their very earnest desire to play rock and roll. What's more, they present their work unabashedly, with soul, and their hearts very much on their sleeves. Sure, you could be a skeptic and wonder why they care so much about being great. But the reality is that the rock music landscape is wrought with bands that are incredibly busy not caring. To see one band who so clearly wants to deliver, well, it's great.

More pictures at the HAD Archive

2 comments:

THE TAKEOVER UK said...

this is my favorite article i've seen written about our band.

cheers!

Eric said...

as a new fan, i find that this article represents the band very well.