Photos by G.
On September 27, 2013 Radiohead front-man Thom Yorke’s side project Atoms For Peace performed at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Being a die-hard Radiohead fan, of course I loved the show, but there were a few things that definitely puncture a hole in the otherwise untouchable world of all things Radiohead. The show began at 9:15 and for nearly one hour and 45 minutes, Thom Yorke (with Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers on bass) and his band used many of Radiohead’s signature techniques to get the crowd going. Personally, I think Thom Yorke’s voice is so beautiful that he could do an a capella show with no backdrop and I’d love it, but why do that when you can use a crazy-ass lighting system (see below)? Yorke danced, played piano and guitar throughout the show, which included songs such as “Default,” “And It Rained All Night,” “Harrowdown Hill,” “Ingenue” and “Black Swan” (as an unlikely final song) and each song was filled with pretty cool visuals (although, the stage set up was surprisingly recycled from the last Atoms for Peace tour).
Surprisingly, the show was nowhere near sold out, and of course, since one should not expect Radiohead songs to be played (and except for “Paperbag Writer,” a Radiohead B-side, none were), that might have been a deterrent from people filling the seats. The floor, which was general admission, was only about half full, but for those of us that were there, it was pretty awesome. The majority of Thom Yorke’s solo album “The Eraser” was played (though the title track was criminally absent) along with the Atoms for Peace record “Amok,” and again, hearing the songs in a stadium setting made me realize the limitations of the tracks. The Atoms for Peace tracks are quite experimental, and in a huge space such as Barclays, keeping everyone’s attention was not something that Yorke and company were particularly successful at. I am always amused at Thom Yorke’s “dance like no one’s looking” moves, which were used throughout the show, and Flea’s “play the bass like your life depends on it” energy, but many times, a few seconds after a song’s intro, hordes of people were getting out of their seats to mill around instead of watch the show. I saw the last Atoms for Peace show in the much smaller Roseland Ballroom a few years ago and that show, even with a lack of Radiohead songs was mindblowing. The Atoms for Peace show at Barclays had its moments but I think the space was way too big for the material that was presented. Perhaps Mr. Yorke’s ego will be deflated a bit after realizing that he is far from perfect and the Atoms for Peace show was a huge reminder of that. I’m sure I am in the minority on this, but that’s why this site is called According 2 G. A video of “Amok” will be coming soon, so stay tuned.
The setlist was:
Before Your Very Eyes / Default / The Clock / Ingenue / Stuck Together Pieces / Unless / And it Rained All Night / Harrowdown Hill / Dropped / Cymbal Rush
Encore 1: Skip Divided / Feeling Pulled Apart By Horses / Rabbit In Your Headlights (UNKLE Cover) / Paperbag Writer (Radiohead Cover) / Amok
Encore 2: Atoms for Peace / Black Swan