Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Thom Yorke @ the Orpheum Theatre


When Thom Yorke first came out with the Eraser I was living in London and was hardly amused. Radiohead was the band that changed my life and inspired me in ways no other musicians have, and the thought of Thom Yorke writing his own material made me relive the worry that I had post Hail to the Thief that the band was going to break up. My friend Sean and I had heated arguments about whether or not the album should exist, the merits, shortcomings, and mishaps of the album. To this day I will remember him saying "this is what Thom brings to the table, and for that we should respect his work."

It took three years for this album to hit me. I became inspired to listen to this album after hearing about Thom Yorke hanging out, sans Radiohead, in LA. On two different occasions I received text messages from friends telling me they were lucky enough to be partying at the Roosevelt where Thom casually showed up and took over the DJ booth. Along with the two recently pressed singles, these encounters inspired me to pick up his solo album again, and I loved it. It felt refreshing, something I had been blocking out and finally letting in. So when his two Orpheum shows were announced and later that day put on sale I was overwhelmingly excited to go, so I got tickets for both nights (let's not talk about what happened with Echoplex).

My hat goes off to whoever had the inclination to put together this band to present the material. Thom Yorke's The Eraser consists of simple drum machine beats and bleeps, atmospheric keyboards, melodic bass lines, with Thom Yorke taking the lead on piano or guitar and singing. Let's replace the drum machines with a drummer (REM/Beck collaborator Joey Waronker) and percussionist (Mauro Refosco). Let's have Nigel play the atmospheric keys and guitars. Let's put Flea, a modern legend, on bass. And let's put on a great show and demonstrate how excellent this material is.

Even though the original material was probably exclusively written and recorded by Thom and Nigel, the album, pulled off through this supergroup, sounded full and complete, as if this was the way it was meant to be heard.

My highlights include "the Eraser" "Atoms for Peace" "Harrowdown Hill" and "Cymbal Rush." The new songs were excellent as well, notably "Lotus Flower." Search Youtube, videos from these shows are all over.

My favorite new song of the night, "Super Collider":

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