Atoms for Peace play a surprise intimate show in Los Angeles
Thom Yorke had some choice words for a few inattentive listeners in the crowd at a secret-until-the-last-minute Atoms for Peace show in Los Angeles. Xeni was there to hear them, and to hear the otherworldly stream of magical beats that flowed forth from a red brick nightclub that once showcased John Coltrane and other jazz greats.
"This is the rehearsal, right?" Thom Yorke teased the audience last night inside Club Fais Do Do, renamed for the evening "Club Amok" for a surprise/secret Atoms For Peace performance. "You were the lucky ones who got tickets."
Amok is the title of the new Atoms For Peace album, released in February, and many inside the club got their tickets free from local record shops after buying the record.
I was one of the lucky ones who got in. And man, if this was only a rehearsal, those of you who catch them on their forthcoming world tour which kicks off in Paris on July 6 are fortunate souls indeed.
The performance swayed between trance-y, ethereal, hypnotic grooves and taut, muscular jams; afrobeat-inspired droning rhythm meets electroglitch meets merciless funk. An epiphany I had halfway through the set: "Flea" is an anagram for "Fela."
The show location was secret until late Friday afternoon, and was then revealed to be the 80something-year-old West Adams district building where jazz greats like John Coltrane once played in the 1960s.
The building's brick walls were covered in "Club Amok" flyers, featuring Stanley Donwood's artwork.
Radiohead's Thom Yorke is Atoms for Peace's frontman, and played guitar and piano; the band features Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers) on bass, Radiohead superproducer Nigel Godrich on keyboards, Joey Waronker on drums (Elliott Smith, Beck, REM), and Brazilian percussionist Mauro Refosco (who often tours with RHCP) rocking a bunch of awesome instruments I can't identify (well, one was an electric berimbau).
It may be full of stars, but don't call Atoms For Peace a "supergroup"—or Yorke might "knock your fucking teeth out."
Writing about music is hard and it's a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon at the beach in Los Angeles, so I'll link to music critics' work instead: LA Weekly, Rolling Stone, and the Los Angeles Times all had reviewers and photogs at the surprise gig last night. Here's a set list, at LA Weekly.
The final encore included one of my favorite Yorke compositions, "Rabbit in Your Headlights," from the late-1990s UNKLE compilation.
Ever seen the Jonathan Glazer video? And you know how certain songs become anthems for certain moments in your life, and take on new meaning? The track was on my "chemo" playlist during infusions, and I remember lying back in the La-Z-Boy from hell, nodding out on the spoken-word interlude.
During the second encore, Yorke soloed an acoustic version of "The Present Tense."
Some (some assholes) in the crowd continued to talk among themselves. Yorke stopped playing.
"Who the fuck is talking?," he demanded to know. "Did you come here just to show up? You can fucking talk when I'm done."
They shut up, and he continued, and it was beautiful.
I agree with Rolling Stone's Steve Appleford: "It was a reasonable question on a night of concentrated beats and passion delivered gratis from a team of sound scientists who were there to be heard and don’t know how to make background music."
Among the attendees who were there to listen: Yorke's sometimes-collaborator Flying Lotus, DJ/multi-instrumentalist Madlib, and The Gaslamp Killer, who performed a smoking turntable set after Atoms for Peace. If you ever have an opportunity to see him live, do it.
There's lots of candid short video on the Atoms for Peace YouTube channel. Nigel Godrich's Vine account is cool to follow, too.
Don't miss Godrich and Yorke's recent set on LA radio station KCRW, during which they debuted new material.
tl;dr: Buy the record, see the tour.
The Pantone Color Institute announced “Love Symbol #2,” a shade of purple honoring Prince. A collaboration with Prince’s estate, the hue, actually labeled with Prince’s logo, is now the official color of his brand. From CNN: Pantone has long been the authority on color trends and design. Since 2000, the corporation has released a “Color […]
REM performed on October 10, 1982 at North Carolina’s Raleigh Underground less than two months after releasing their debut EP, Chronic Town. This is thought to be the first pro footage of R.E.M. playing live. Posted by zararity on YouTube: The setlist: 1. Wolves, Lower 0:52 2. Laughing 5:41 3. 1,000,000 9:46 (NOTE: Mitch Easter, […]
Last night, NBC Nightly News aired the wonderful video below about the Voyager Golden Record vinyl box set I produced with my friends Tim Daly and Lawrence Azerrad! Forty years ago this month, NASA launched two spacecraft, Voyager 1 and 2, on a grand tour of the solar system and beyond, into the mysteries of […]
The Pry.Me Bottle Opener holds tens of thousands of times its own weight, and you can pick one up now from the Boing Boing Store.This remarkable keychain is considerably smaller than any of your keys, but don’t let that fool you: it can easily open any bottle, and could even tow a trailer full of […]
Guaranteeing your privacy online goes way beyond checking the “Do Not Track” option in your browser’s settings. To ensure that your internet activity is totally hidden from Internet Service Providers, advertisers, and other prying eyes, take a look at Windscribe’s VPN protection. It usually costs $7.50 per month, but you can get a 3-year subscription […]
This project management bundle will help you get organized and learn how to lead a team to success. You can pay what you want for these five courses when you pick them up from the Boing Boing Store.To help you become an invaluable asset for your company, this bundle includes a curated collection of professional […]