The lucky few got to hear Thom Yorke of Radiohead’s latest project at the first of three Camden shows last night. At 50 quid for a ticket he was pricing himself well beyond the means of the Spotify streamers, who found his music removed from their web service last week.
“Make no mistake, new artists you discover on Spotify will not get paid,” he said, to protestations from the company. Instead, Atoms for Peace have allied themselves with new British startup Soundhalo, which is selling audio and video of these concerts, the band’s first in London.
I hope the cameras capture the full blaze of an increasingly unhinged light show, a wall of spots and lines that really erupted during the fiery climax of Yorke’s solo song Harrowdown Hill.
The band, formed to perform Yorke’s solo material, might even be more watchable than Radiohead, with Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers throwing himself about on bass, Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich flitting between guitar and keyboards and two men on percussion duties, Joey Waronker and Mauro Refosco. The beats were all, often leaving the recorded version of a song behind to zoom off on relentless rhythms.
Yorke, in contrast to his cliched reputation as rock’s gloomiest man (and his current look as rock’s trampiest tramp) was clearly having a ball, only occasionally tied to guitar or piano as he jerked wildly around the stage. “We’re called Atoms for Peace we are glad to meet you,” he said in the silliest cockney voice he could manage.
As anyone familiar with the last decade of Radiohead could have told you, tunes and choruses were heavily rationed. The song Atoms for Peace was the prettiest with its simple electronic bass. Elsewhere the thrills came from an expert band performing complex music flawlessly – a sight worth paying for.
Until Fri, Roundhouse, NW1 (0870 389 1846, roundhouse.org.uk)