LIVE: Television in Black and White, Richard Lloyd @ The Hangar, 10/02/2021
Richard Lloyd encored his far too short hour-long set at The Hangar on The Hudson Saturday night with a nod to the passing of Charlie Watts in a stripped-down version to The Stones’1965 classic “Last Time.” The lyrics are an ironic and somewhat eerie eulogy to Lloyd’s own career: “Well, I told you once an’ I told you twice/But you never listen to my advice/You don’t try very hard to please me/With what you know it should be easy/Well, this could be the last time/This could be the last time/Maybe the last time/I don’t know/Oh no.”
Lloyd’s legacy is that he went into a locked and loaded but intimate dance with Tom Verlaine on guitar in Television, the fabled house band at The Bowery’s CBGB’s nightclub in 1976. The promise of their number “Marquee Moon” was that it would set a trend for guitars in rock bands into the future. If The Beatles made bands more important than solo rock singers supported by backup instrumentalists, Television wrote the primer for twin lead guitars as opposed to a lead guitar backed by a rhythm guitar.
Television’s early high visibility was the easy equal to other CBGB’s innovators like The Talking Heads and Patti Smith but was short circuited by Lloyd’s drug addiction problems, and his subsequent 40-plus-year solo career has reduced his visibility to the point of playing small clubs, like The Hangar on The Hudson.
While club owner Brian Gilchrist has made The Hanger an amazing local showcase for great acts like Ray Wylie Hubbard, Bill Kirchen, and Dale Watson that otherwise seldom play markets our size north of the Mason-Dixon Line, Lloyd’s show was a RadioRadioX rental attracting a paint-it-black near sellout crowd that brought me flashbacks to my one visit to New York’s CBGB’ back in the day.
The 800-lb. gorilla in the room is ‘can Lloyd resurrect the charisma he had with Television?’ He’s released eight solo albums since leaving Television, none of which has charted, and he’s pretty much under the radar, enough so that scoring an advance interview with him meant going through his drummer Kevin Tooley (who is very good, by the way) and catching them on the run between gigs in the car.
There is precious little about Lloyd on social media, and the band disappeared into their dressing room after their set and had no merch for sale at the show. They did an adequate version of Television’s hit “Marquee Moon,” and the rest of the set included a cover of “Fire Engine” by The 13th Floor Elevators and a song Lloyd introduced as “Glurp.” The rest of the numbers I didn’t recognize.
Is the second guitarist as good as Tom Verlaine? Not quite, but the band was well rehearsed, a kind of post-punk Erector Set hard rock quartet that performed in fifth gear for an hour, encored with “Last Time” and were gone.
Local band Haunted Cat opened with an imaginative set of originals. Backed by a singer whose demeanor is reminiscent of David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust persona, the group’s lyrics were contemporary psychedelic and very appropriate for the tone of this show.
The Lawn Sausages celebrated 31 years of misogynistic high jinks highlighted by their first local hit “Cow Tipping.” Lead vocalist Art Fredette alluded to various reasons as to why Troy legend Jim Barrett wasn’t with the band. One has to wonder if members of the #MeToo movement haven’t accosted them in a back alley. It is probably dangerous in 2021 to even admit you like these guys. And certainly, it’s not wise for a happily married old man like me to say that I find them more than a little amusing.