I am very spoiled being from New York City, every act will pass through this city at least once during the year, or at some point in their career. The solo project of Radiohead's Thom Yorke, sometimes known as Thom Yorke, The Eraser, Thom Yorke???? or now Atoms for Peace, dropping by New York City for the first stop of their debut tour. The first of two nights at Roseland Ballroom brought out a night of much anticipation, excitement and most of all curiosity. With Atoms for Peace making their stage debut last fall in LA, the band, which consists of Yorke, Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, long time Radiohead producer Nigel Goodrich, Beck / REM drummer Joey Waronker and multi-instrumentalist Mauro Refosco hit every micro blip, bop and note with sheer precision and accuracy.
No one in the room knew what to expect as the tiny English singer walked on stage just after 9pm with his new band mates, as Yorke waltzed his way over to his upright piano to open the night with "The Eraser," it was the only common ground the audience would find for a bit during his 90-minute set. Atoms for Peace would remix, reinterpret and reconfigure almost every song off The Eraser, the four year old solo disc that Yorke is touring for now. Each song was almost unrecognizable and fused with new energy and sound. While the style of The Eraser was just a mear extension of Radiohead, what the audience got last night and what audiences in parts of the country that will see this band will get is something completely different. Playing under neath a series of LED Strobe lights and colored lighting grid, it was a show for the eyes and ears.
The live show last night showed Yorke shedding his normal serious skin for a bit and embracing something totally fun. As the sounds were part mellow, part jungle, part dubstep and fused with a bit of jazz and funk, it went from being an all out dance party to an all out free for all. Seeing Thom play with a smile on his face alongside Flea, who with his new blue hair color, is still a sight to see. Watching Flea play bass was like watching John Paul Jones play bass just two months ago in the same venue with Them Crooked Vultures, it is not a treat it is an honor. Musicianship of this caliber is rarely seen these days and what everyone witnessed last night was much more than a concert, everyone in that room realized they never saw anything like this before and probably never will again, it was a true special moment in time.
After playing The Eraser in it's entirety, Yorke strolled back on stage to perform a never-before-herd new song "A Walk Down a Staircase," which then led into "The Daily Mail," a song that has everyone scratching their head's unsure if Yorke will keep this for himself or will it be a new Radiohead track. However, the highlight of the night an acoustic and bare bones performance of Radiohead's "Everything in it's Right Place" which closed out encore number one. Arriving back on stage with the band, Yorke dabbled into Radiohead B-side and two new released tracks of his own, "The Hollowed Earth" and "Feeling Pulled Apart By Horses." After witnessing a set that was both equally brilliant and bizarre, feeling pulled apart by something far powerful than myself was how I felt and how we were left.
Opening the night was dubstep main man, Flying Lotus. Flying Lotus, a LA DJ that has been gaining much notoriety over the years as a man who created the dubstep genre is getting his big break opening for Yorke on these gigs. While his smooth maneuvering and handling of his controls is a sight to be seen and herd, it was the sound crew at Roseland that could not keep up with his high and intense bass and decibel ranges as speakers in the venue would crack and pop through Lotus' 40 minute set. I had the chance to speak with Lotus after the show and he said he was "humbled," to be playing these gigs and having this chance.
ATOMS FOR PEACE SET LIST ROSELAND BALLROOM 4/5/10:
“Atoms For Peace”
“And It Rained All Night”
“A Walk Down the Staircase”
“Everything In It’s Right Place”
“Judge, Jury & Executioner”
“The Hollow Earth”
“Feeling Pulled Apart By Horses”