Late Show With David Letterman
HIGH NOTE: Letterman would doubtless point to one of his all-time favorites, Ryan Adams — when he finished “Gimme Something Good,” Letterman asked him to do it all over again, and he did.
LOW NOTE: Interpol. Just when I thought I’d erased Ultravox from my memory, Interpol (aka Joyless Division) had to go and make a comeback.
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
HIGH NOTE: The Replacements, of course, tearing through “Alex Chilton.” Paul Westerberg, his voice as sinewy as his arms, looked elated, and the way Fallon announced the band and the song showed that he got it.
LOW NOTE: Alicia Keys‘ awesomely mawkish new world-peace anthem “We Are Here” nabs the low note with ease.
Jimmy Kimmel Live!
HIGH NOTE: Kimmel has late night’s best music venue – the outdoor stage with a reliable sound system — and Jhene Aiko made the most of it, swaying rapturously to the loose lilt of “The Pressure.”
LOW NOTE: Panama Wedding’s pallid little semi-demi-pop-reggae rhythms with the faux-Sting vocals? A rare lapse in Kimmel’s music bookings.
HIGH NOTE: Sturgill Simpson wins a close contest, doing his best Waylon Jennings-on-acid rumbling, narrowly beating Garfunkel & Oates‘ whimsy-with-an-edge.
LOW NOTE: Like Devo without a sense of humor, Alt-J was bleakly dull. If viewers wanted mood music, they got moody music instead.
Late Night With Seth Meyers
HIGH NOTE: That sexy pop-soul number with the indelible hook? It’s “Jealous” from Nick Jonas, and his falsetto did not fail him.
LOW NOTE: Banks‘ self-conscious image-burnishing distracted mightily from the mildly entertaining music.