Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Atoms For Peace @Roseland Ballroom, Apr. 5th

No, it wasn't a Radiohead concert per se, yet it was still monumental. In 2006, lead singer Thom Yorke released a solo album called The Eraser, and fans had been salivating for a gig ever since. He decided to assemble a band (including bassist Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich) late last year and dubbed it Atoms For Peace. Last night at Roseland Ballroom, they put on a muscled, tight set that had the crowd bouncing along with excitement for a solid 75 minutes. (And surprisingly, the sound did not suck.)

(More words and pics including a setlist, and a video after the jump.)
In case you haven't dipped into The Eraser, it has a different sound from the soaring, guitar-filled anthems of Radiohead. The music veers towards the electronic, punctuated by almost tribal rhythms, which were handled readily by Flea last night. I find that Yorke's solo music possesses more restraint in terms of emotion and musicality. It might not work itself into my core to the level that Radiohead does, but it is a great listen and an even greater performance.

As expected, the band focused on the album, adding a few songs written since its release. Mid-set, Yorke appeared on the stage by himself for a 3 song segment, including a new song "Chris Hodge/Let Me Take Control" and "The Daily Mail." He ended with Radiohead's "Everything In Its Right Place."

During the show, we got to see a looser Thom Yorke, as he bounced from the front center mic to the piano at stage right to basically all over the stage while doing a spazzy, funny dance that would rival Elaine Benes' on "Seinfeld." He has perhaps found a soulmate in Flea, who matched his energetic output along with a bass line that never ceased (except for when he used a melodica). This version of Thom Yorke seemed more carefree and happy, unburdened by the weightiness that Radiohead's grand music often demands. Like I said, this music may not have moved me in the same way Radiohead's music typically does, but certainly an exhilarating performance nonetheless.

Here is a video I shot of "Harrowdown Hill":

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