TVD Live Shots: Thom Yorke at the Paramount Theatre, 10/20

SEATTLE, WA | Thom Yorke is living in a world that not a lot of us can truly understand. He’s a true disruptor in both a musical sense and as an industry pioneer. He did exactly what the music business SHOULD have done by embracing technology instead of fighting it. He broke the mold for releasing and promoting new music and continues to innovate.

Having seen Radiohead several times over the years, this would be my first-time seeing Yorke solo. The music is so different with its atmospheric overtones driven by electronic beats and offbeat electro-funk, one could ask the question, would he be selling out venues without Radiohead’s success on his resume? That’s the wrong question to be asking, though. While the solo music may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it does carry forward the complexity of Radiohead’s later records, even pushing them into new territory once again.

The Radiohead frontman was joined on stage by Nigel Godrich and visual artist Tarik Barr. The setup was quite small with a couple of digital turntables and a slew of synthesizers, but the sound was enormous. Yorke weaved in and out of the turntables, twisting and turning knobs with the look of confidence in his art, with a glimpse of a smile in between moments where he seemed to be in a trance with the music.

I looked around frequently at the capacity crowd at the beautiful Paramount Theatre. I saw a crowd completely immersed in not only the sonic landscapes echoing through the historic space, but also drawn to the laser-like light show interpreting the sounds by painting with light.

Although the tour is called “Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes,” which I interpreted as the entire record being played, there were a few tracks missing, and the setlist read more like a celebration of all things Thom Yorke. Songs from his latest album Anima were rightfully featured along with a couple of Atoms for Peace songs which fit nicely. Even though the set was nearly two hours and featured two encores, I was hoping for at least one Radiohead track to make it in, but not for Seattle. Either way, it was a brilliant night of experimental sounds and animated art.

Thom Yorke will be bringing the “Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes” tour to the UK next year. Tour dates and tickets can be found here.

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