Photos and Review by Emily Gringorten
After finding an insanely good street parking spot right in front of Oakland’s Fox Theater, my spirits were high as I waltzed into the sold out TV Girl show, the first of two nights at the historic venue. Lucky for me, my spirits remained high through the remainder of the set, and it was an overall pleasant night filled with teenage girls screaming at the top of their lungs and plenty of entertaining monologues from frontman Brad Petering. “The TV Girl Traveling All-Star Band” is touring following the release of their newest album Grapes Upon the Vine.
Indie darling Jordana Nye kicked off the night with a solid set, although I selfishly found myself wishing she played more of her older work. Her being the opener for this show just felt right since most in the crowd probably were already familiar with her work, or at least her voice. Jordana and TV Girl released their collaborative album Summer’s Over in 2021 and toured together following its release. During that tour, Jordana even played in the TV Girl band. The album turned out to be a great success, with multiple songs going viral on Tik Tok and Jordana gaining thousands of new adoring fans. Speaking of Tik Tok, TV Girl has a handful of songs that have trended and garnered millions of listens for the band. Petering made a point to bring this up a few times throughout the show, telling us “don’t worry, we’re going to play all the viral Tik Tok smash hits.”
One side effect of viral social media fame is a younger and frankly more immature audience. The group of abandoned parent chaperones in the back of the densely packed GA pit were an indicator that there were some youngsters in the crowd, many seemingly at their first concert. I was grateful for my balcony seat where I could survey the chaos below from a safe distance. TV girl started with three lesser known songs from the 2014 release French Exit before playing one of the fan favorites “Cigarettes out the Window,” during which fans screamed so loud you could barely hear the band. During the more deep cuts, you could practically hear a pin drop. The TikTok-ification of concerts is something that longtime concert goers such as myself surely have observed over the past few years, but I just never get used to it. Other highlights from the self proclaimed “hypnotic pop” group included “Birds Dont Sing,” “Blue Hair,” and “Not Allowed.”
Between every couple of songs, Petering would address the audience with comedic and sometimes self deprecating comments. For example, in reference to their most recent release, which was met with mixed responses, he said that the album was doing so poorly that they needed to pick up a corporate sponsor to be able to even tour at all. Then, he placed a bottle of Mountain Dew Code Red on his keyboard and proceeded to reference it about a dozen more times throughout the show, even squeezing it into the lyrics of “Heaven is a Bedroom.” Given how committed he remained to the bit, I honestly found myself questioning if it was even a bit at all. Other highlights of his speeches included “if someone’s outfit isn’t working, tell them to dress better” and “if you see someone who is thirsty, give them a sippy or juice box. If someone is hungry, make them a sandwich or a pizza, grill some fajitas.” I genuinely have never been to a concert in which the band spent so much time addressing the crowd, and they ate up every word.
Overall, it was a solid and entertaining show. The hits were played, the deep cuts were played, we laughed, we danced, and (as Petering said himself) we were punished with plenty of songs from the new album. He thanked fans individually for coming and even went into the photo pit and threw some money into the crowd. Jordana came out again to sing “Lo on the Hi-Way” from their collaborative album. The band stole the show for me, especially the two female backing vocalists; they danced in sync atop a platform for most of the show before being excused with the justification that Mountain Dew only paid for that much stage time, funny. I don’t think a single person was convinced the show was over when the band exited the stage without singing the smash hit “Lover’s Rock”. Sure enough, after a short break they re-emerged to give the people what most of them probably came to see. I had a really good time at this show, and look forward to hopefully seeing TV Girl again someday.