By Mariana Lopez
Any steadfast Thom Yorke fan had listened to the album The Eraser when it was released in the summer of 2006. For four years, all of those who liked what they heard, (myself included,) had been itching for a tour of the album. The scratch to our itch arrived in the formation of the band Atoms for Peace, a veritable supergroup consisting of Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Mauro Refosco of Forro in the Dark, Joey Waronker who has played with such greats as the Smashing Pumpkins, R.E.M., and Beck, and, of course, Thom Yorke himself. These guys all seethe talent on their own, but to see them all on one stage was absolutely unforgettable.
After a delay due to a manhole explosion, and a very danceable set by the opener Flying Lotus, the band went on and played The Eraser in its entirety, but not without a few amusing quips from Thom beforehand. The stage was lit by the same LED lights that traveled along with Radiohead on their recent tours, but instead of dangling perpendicular to the floor, they hung in jagged zig-zags above the band, glowing orbs following the beat of the music. The second they hit the first few notes, there was a definite contrast in sound from the studio version of the album. The album itself has a cold, aloof quality to it- but the live rendition was anything but. From start to finish, the venue was full to the brim with energy and emotion from Thom and the gang. Whether he was sitting at the piano, or thrashing about at the mic, it was clear that he poured his heart into the performance. He sang as though he had been holding in the lyrics for the past four years, and the band played along as though they would do anything to help him get them out. A lot of careful thought was put into translating the songs from their computer generated counterparts, as was seen in the choice of some unexpected instruments. Trumpet, berimbau, and melodica all made appearances throughout the set. The band could have very well chosen to do without them, but those details really served to gel the songs together, and it was obvious that the band really enjoyed playing them. The stage was full of sweat, smiles, and of course, very twitchy dancing.
The encore got off to a tender start, Thom did a cover of Mark Mulcahy’s “All For The Best” on acoustic guitar, which he originally recorded with his brother Andy for the album ‘Ciao My Shining Star’, a tribute to Mulcahy’s late wife. This was followed on piano by Fog, then Everything In It’s Right Place (which the crowd went wild for.) The rest of the band made their way on stage and played Paperbag Writer, an old Radiohead b-side favorite. They ended with three newer tunes “Judge, Jury, and Executioner,” “The Hollow Earth,” and “Feeling Pulled Apart By Horses,” which were all full of fervor and forcefulness, and the perfect end to an amazing gig.