Live review: Atoms for Peace at Roseland Ballroom
Tue Apr 6 2010
Last night, Thom Yorke's all-star collective Atoms for Peace (featuring Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea and producer Nigel Godrich, most notably) played the first of two nights at midtown's Roseland Ballroom. Although the crowd was by far the meanest I've encountered in my two years in NYC (fans exchanged "fuck you"s like they were a common courtesy; a woman climbed on her boyfriend's shoulders and was immediately pelted with debris; a short man standing behind me said he couldn't see, and when I asked him what he wanted me to do, he said, simply, "Go away"), the performance itself was pretty good, showcasing most of Yorke's solo album, The Eraser, before delving into new material.
The show relied heavily on the singer's material outside his main group but briefly venturing into Radiohead-land with a piano version of "Everything in Its Right Place," which received the largest cheer from the audience (the only rival moment being when Yorke first walked onstage). The set began with The Eraser's title track and went straight through the record in order as the night's main course; Yorke offered glimpses of the new material in the (Radiohead-style) double encore.
For the most part, allowing for some of the technical issues with the sound that rang with feedback when I'm not sure feedback was intended, the new material sounded good, occupying tribal drum patterns and glitchy electronica as context for Yorke's quirk-laden falsetto. Flea's energetic basslines rumbled beneath the atmosphere created by the swirling electronics yet never quite stole the show from Yorke (despite a brief bass solo and the musician's blue-dyed hair).
All things considered, it was a solid effort from Yorke and Co., but the sounds may be best experienced in recorded, mastered form.
The setlist (via Setlist.fm)
"Atoms for Peace"
"And It Rained All Night"
Untitled new song
"The Daily Mail"
"Everything in Its Right Place"
"Judge, Jury and Executioner"
"The Hollow Earth"
"Feeling Pulled Apart by Horses"
Check out Brooklyn Vegan's awesome photos from the show here.