The Darkness Doubles
A dip into the archives — this was the second thing I ever posted on this blog. If you didn’t get it way back then, here ya go.
Tom Verlaine, Fred Smith, Bill Ficca and Richard Lloyd make their bid for the coveted Best Fucking Band Ever title with this unbelievable show, recorded on 7/2/78 in Portland, OR — far, far away from their regular NYC haunts. The club was called the Earth Tavern, and while I don’t know what the interior looked like, I like to imagine it with trees growing out of the floor, moss on the walls and owls perched on the rafters. Incredibly, within a month or so, Television was kaput (at least for the time being; they’ve fitfully reunited and re-reunited over the years). You wouldn’t know it from this recording, though: holy shit, it smokes from beginning to end, with Verlaine and Lloyd showing off their legendary guitar interplay and Ficca and Smith providing a firm but flexible rhythmic backdrop. This show was a couple days after the San Francisco gig that was officially released in limited quantities back in 2003; that one might have the edge in terms of sound quality but the Portland show has the edge in terms of performance … If the version of “Little Johnny Jewel” here doesn’t convince you of the greatness of Television … well, I feel bad for you, son.