Music

Radiohead Dive Deep into the Pool at the Garden

Photos: Sachyn Mital

Catching the first two Radiohead shows in New York City practically makes attending the last two essential.

Having seen Radiohead's first two (of four) sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden, I find myself conflicted. With wildly different sets each night and superb visuals, accompanying many of my favorite songs, the group completely knocked my socks off.

Radiohead's current tour essentially supports their 2016 release, A Moon Shaped Pool, an album I realized I don't know so well after hearing much of it featured in the two-plus-hour set each night. But that didn't stop me from enjoying songs like "Ful Stop" and "Identikit" alongside numerous other tracks I've listened to over the past two decades (and repeatedly listened to again ahead of the shows). The group has a way of tweaking old songs, so they feel fresh against newer, more electronic material.

One of the more memorable moments from the first night was during the final encore ahead of "No Surprises". Yorke prefaced the song by demurring to discuss politics (something he used to shoot off about a lot) but let the lyrics speak for themselves -- the audience's seething rage was practically tangible as he sang "they don't speak for us".

The slow-burning second night did allow periodic releases of energy. "There There" was powerful and perhaps the purest expression of rock Radiohead have right now. After that came the wobbly "Everything in Its Right Place" which brought down the house (and closed out the main set). This was also the night the group played "Spectre", a once possible James Bond song, for the second time though it was primarily Yorke solo on piano.

Comparing the two nights, I found each show had an identity of its own. The first night (June 10th) felt more like a rowdy party or unruly school dance, as the band alternated between powerful, slower songs with aggressive, more twitch friendly tunes free form. The second night (June 11th) felt more slow-burning, however. Radiohead played a lot of brooding tracks, only sporadically reaching a thrashing level. That's not meant as a complaint, however -- I only want to emphasize how strong the band is at setting moods, creating spectacles and diversifying setlists. Seeing how little overlap there was at the first two shows, I feel like I must see them again. And again.

But even if I don't, I also left the show(s) super thrilled to have seen Junun opening. This side project that Jonny Greenwood is involved in is lead by Shye Ben Tzur and includes the Indian musical group, the Rajasthan Express. The group (and their album Junun) were featured in a documentary film by Paul Thomas Anderson a few years ago. Their music, a fusion of world genres with flourishes of Greenwood's electronics, isn't something all palettes can tolerate but I find fascinating.

I found it even more interesting that a group that could easily have been a one-off passion project has taken the time to rehearse and to learn new (at least unreleased) material. From the photo pit, It was not a long set, but I was surprised to see the (admittedly hard-core fan base) audience on the rail really get into Junun's rhythms. And it was great to hear them wrap up with the classic Qawwali song "Mast Kalander" (not on the album) with the Indian musicians coming to the front to rouse the audience. I hope this project continues to develop.

Radiohead (and Junun) continue to tour through July. Check out photos from the first night at MSG, a few videos (including Junun's performance on Colbert) and their remaining North American dates below.

TOUR DATES

07/13/18 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
07/14/18 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
07/16/18 – Montreal, QC – Bell Centre
07/17/18 – Montreal, QC – Bell Centre
07/19/18 – Toronto, ON – Air Canada Centre
07/20/18 – Toronto, ON – Air Canada Centre
07/22/18 – Detroit, MI – Little Caesars Arena
07/23/18 – Columbus, OH – Schottenstein Center
07/25/18 – Cincinnati, OH – US Bank Arena
07/26/18 – Pittsburgh, PA – PPG Paints Arena
07/28/18 – Boston, MA – TD Garden
07/29/18 – Boston, MA – TD Garden
07/31/18 – Philadelphia, PA – Wells Fargo Center
08/01/18 – Philadelphia, PA – Wells Fargo Center



Music


Books


Film


Television


Recent
Music

Great Peacock Stares Down Mortality With "High Wind" (premiere + interview)

Southern rock's Great Peacock offer up a tune that vocalist Andrew Nelson says encompasses their upcoming LP's themes. "You are going to die one day. You can't stop the negative things life throws at you from happening. But, you can make the most of it."

Music

The 80 Best Albums of 2015

Travel back five years ago when the release calendar was rife with stellar albums. 2015 offered such an embarrassment of musical riches, that we selected 80 albums as best of the year.

Film

Buridan's Ass and the Problem of Free Will in John Sturges' 'The Great Escape'

Escape in John Sturge's The Great Escape is a tactical mission, a way to remain in the war despite having been taken out of it. Free Will is complicated.

Books

The Redemption of Elton John's 'Blue Moves'

Once reviled as bloated and pretentious, Elton John's 1976 album Blue Moves, is one of his masterpieces, argues author Matthew Restall in the latest installment of the 33 1/3 series.

Music

Whitney Take a Master Class on 'Candid'

Although covers albums are usually signs of trouble, Whitney's Candid is a surprisingly inspired release, with a song selection that's eclectic and often obscure.

Music

King Buzzo Continues His Reign with 'Gift of Sacrifice'

King Buzzo's collaboration with Mr. Bungle/Fantômas bassist Trevor Dunn expands the sound of Buzz Osborne's solo oeuvre on Gift of Sacrifice.

Music

Jim O'Rourke's Experimental 'Shutting Down Here' Is Big on Technique

Jim O'Rourke's Shutting Down Here is a fine piece of experimental music with a sure hand leading the way. But it's not pushing this music forward with the same propensity as Luc Ferrari or Derek Bailey.

Music

Laraaji Returns to His First Instrument for 'Sun Piano'

The ability to help the listener achieve a certain elevation is something Laraaji can do, at least to some degree, no matter the instrument.

Music

Kristin Hersh Discusses Her Gutsy New Throwing Muses Album

Kristin Hersh thinks influences are a crutch, and chops are a barrier between artists and their truest expressions. We talk about life, music, the pandemic, dissociation, and the energy that courses not from her but through her when she's at her best.

Music

The 10 Best Fleetwood Mac Solo Albums

Fleetwood Mac are the rare group that feature both a fine discography and a successful series of solo LPs from their many members. Here are ten examples of the latter.

Music

Jamila Woods' "SULA (Paperback)" and Creative Ancestry and Self-Love in the Age of "List" Activism

In Jamila Woods' latest single "SULA (Paperback)", Toni Morrison and her 1973 novel of the same name are not static literary phenomena. They are an artist and artwork as galvanizing and alive as Woods herself.

Film

The Erotic Disruption of the Self in Paul Schrader's 'The Comfort of Strangers'

Paul Schrader's The Comfort of Strangers presents the discomfiting encounter with another —someone like you—and yet entirely unlike you, mysterious to you, unknown and unknowable.

Music

'Can You Spell Urusei Yatsura' Is a Much Needed Burst of Hopefulness in a Desultory Summer

A new compilation online pulls together a generous helping of B-side action from a band deserving of remembrance, Scotland's Urusei Yatsura.

Music

Jess Cornelius Creates Tautly Constructed Snapshots of Life

Former Teeth & Tongue singer-songwriter Jess Cornelius' Distance is an enrapturing collection of punchy garage-rock, delicate folk, and arty synthpop anthems which examine liminal spaces between us.

Books

Sikoryak's 'Constitution Illustrated' Pays Homage to Comics and the Constitution

R. Sikoryak's satirical pairings of comics characters with famous and infamous American historical figures breathes new and sometimes uncomfortable life into the United States' most living document.

Music

South African Folk Master Vusi Mahlasela Honors Home on 'Shebeen Queen'

South African folk master Vusi Mahlasela pays tribute to his home and family with township music on live album, Shebeen Queen.

Music

Planningtorock Is Queering Sound, Challenging Binaries, and Making Infectious Dance Music

Planningtorock emphasizes "queering sound and vision". The music industry has its hierarchies of style, of equipment, of identities. For Jam Rostron, queering music means taking those conventions and deliberately manipulating and subverting them.

Music

'History Gets Ahead of the Story' for Jazz's Cosgrove, Medeski, and Lederer

Jazz drummer Jeff Cosgrove leads brilliant organ player John Medeski and multi-reed master Jeff Lederer through a revelatory recording of songs by William Parker and some just-as-good originals.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.