TV on the Radio is one of those bands that even people who spend all day every day describing bands have a hard time describing. Music journalists usually fall back on the word "eclectic" to describe TVOTR. It's accurate but it doesn't really say much.
Drummer Jaleel Bunton says there's a reason the band is difficult to pigeonhole.
"The first album I ever bought was 'Synchronicity' by the Police," he said in a phone interview from his Brooklyn home. "The second was by LL Cool J."
From there, he said, he went back and discovered funk, punk and '60s stuff.
"I never saw anything wrong with liking Bad Brains, LL Cool J and Dionne Warwick," Bunton said.
His TV on the Radio bandmates all had similarly diverse tastes, and the music is an amalgamation of all the music they loved.
TV on the Radio is setting out on a tour this week and one of its first stops will be Tampa. The band, which is perhaps best known for its fierce rock paean to lycanthropy, "Wolf Like Me," will be one of the headliners at this year's Big Guava Music Festival at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre and the adjacent Florida State Fairgrounds.
TVOTR has a large and fervent following, and they're known as a phenomenal live band, but a couple of bands at this year's Big Guava are even bigger names, including The Pixies and the Strokes.
This year's festival, the second, gets going on Friday, with a lineup that features such major acts as Pretty Lights, Passion Pit, Ryan Adams, AWOLNATION, and Jenny Lewis, plus respected up-and comers Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, Big Data, Iration, Milky Chance, Robert DeLong, X Ambassadors, Ex-Cops, Dreamers and FMLYBND.
Saturday's lineup includes Cold War Kids, Banks, Run the Jewels, Death From Above 1979 , Action Bronson Classixx, Lydia, Reptar, A Silent Film, Empires, Paper Route, Zella Day, Skylar Spence, Night Riots and Sunbears!
There are four stages so the music is continuous, but the show times are staggered so most people will be able to see the bands they care most about and not miss too much.
The midway at the fairgrounds will be open during Big Guava too, so if you've got some downtime between your favorite bands you can go on all the rides you want. All that's included in the ticket price.
It's obviously an eclectic lineup, with everything from EDM (Robert DeLong) to one of the most important indie bands ever (the Pixies) and the alt-country of Ryan Adams.
Speaking of eclectic, there's still that matter of how to describe TV on the Radio. Someone suggests "post-punk." Bunton says that fits as well as anything.
"It's post-punk because punk turned the emphasis away from virtuosity and put it on the songwriting and the energy," he said. "You're not going to hear many guitar solos in our songs, or anything like that."
But, although he stops short of saying it, his band's music bristles with virtuosity.
TVOTR's fifth full-length studio album, "Seeds," came out in November. It was the first new album from the band in three years. Bunton said the show in Tampa will lean heavily on material from that aklbum, but will cover material going back to 2002's "OK Calculator" and their breakout "Return to Candy Mountain" from 2006.
Details: May 8-9, MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, 4802 U.S. 301, Tampa. Show times: 4 p.m. Friday, Noon Saturday. Tickets: Friday, $55 general, $150 reserved; Saturday $70 general $200 reserved; two-day general admission $115, reserved $350. Information: 813-740-2446, livenation.com.
Marty Clear, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-708-7919. Follow twitter.com/martinclear.