As one fifth of TV on the Radio, Kyp Malone is part of a fascinating sound that is gritty and adventurous with bracing guitar hooks, manic jazz/prog arrangements and spell-binding vocal playfulness. Malone’s solo project, Rain Machine, is more introspective. Though not steering too far from the TVOTR wheelhouse, part of the rhythmic wall of sound has crumbled revealing raw emotion. On record, this emotion touches on anger leading to slight intimidation of a live show – fear of being scolded or lectured.
The fear is rapidly dispelled. Amongst his five other band members, Malone cuts a striking yet amicable figure, his remarkable facial growth has earned him a tag of ‘The Beard’ with the same fondness that Lebowski is ‘The Dude’. Further dispelling any cantankerousness, Kyp’s first words are of genuine praise for the support slot, James Vincent McMorrow, who tricked over an impressive set of earthy and melodic indie-folk.
Rain Machine’s first track is less benevolent though, -Desperate Bitch’ is assualting with strangled guitar and heavy lyrics , a brooding eight minute epic – the first of many.
The Academy is sinfully under attended, most peculiar considering Tripod was busting at the seams for both TVOTR shows two winters ago. Perhaps the association isn’t clear. How and ever this works in favour for those who did attend, the roominess is an extra pleasure for an engrossed audience. An audience engrossed in chilling tales of horror, genocide and police brutality; -Smiling Black Faces’ is slow burning but climatic, fraught and itchy guitar builds as Malone’s bluesy howl transgresses to a choking falsetto.
Midway through the show Malone is left on stage by himself, as a form of interlude or break for the band. Tinkering with a folk-jazz/bluegrassy number he launches into an accusatory tirade – screaming Allah, God, Satan … they all ‘got the a-bomb’. It’s preachy, but good, shit. With supple ease Malone can flit from seriousness to humorous. Even joking that the world politics may have evolved into a state of disarmed peace and harmony during the haze of their three week European tour.
This being the last night of the tour, and the six-strong band maybe jaded but certainly aren’t burned out. Songs like -Give Blood’ are bouncing (quite literally), vigorous and ruminative. Malone’s guitar styles are wide ranging and quick changing, moving from fluid to frantic in a heartbeat in the same way that his vocal moves from lulling and smooth to a holler that would wake the dead.
Set closer -Winter Song’ explodes into a maffick end of tour celebration, guitars, cello and drums are abused resulting in an ear-bursting yet exhilarating barrage of noise.
Rain Machine deal with grave material but package it into palpable catchy guitar tales, though taking 90 minutes to play nine songs Malone is clearly a fan of epic sonic adventures. On the evidence of tonight’s performance it’s curious to think what kind of band TVOTR would be without him.
Photos by Damien McGlynn.