Thom Yorke brought his solo tour to the Kings Theatre in Brooklyn for two nights in late November to perform selections from his solo recordings, The Eraser, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, plus his latest work Suspiria(Music for the Luca Guadagnino Film), and selections from AMOK, the album he made with the band Atoms for Peace in 2013. It was a visually captivating and musically hypnotic performance, one that signaled Thom Yorke has unswerving faith in his solo work.
Yorke was joined by long-time collaborator Nigel Godrich, and visual artist, Tarik Barri, who handled the onstage presentation. For nearly two hours, the trio performed with minimal interruption, with Yorke pausing the action every so often to thank the crowd for coming. Godrich handled most of the instrumentation — a series of synthesizers, drum machines, all linked together by laptops and other devices. But Yorke also had his own station of knobs and buttons and would sometimes switch off with Godrich for the occasional guitar sighting. During the title track from AMOK, Barri flashed pulsating bolts of white light, illuminating nothing but Yorke’s silhouette as he shook and shimmied at the microphone, his unmistakable voice ringing out like a wonderous, golden bell.
Thom Yorke’s solo albums give insight into his interest in Kraftwerk, Gary Numan, Brian Eno, ambient music, and electronica. Though, this performance at the Kings Theatre treated the audience to yet another dimension of Thom Yorke, the man — one that is far more relaxed, and differs from the singer who’s sometimes manic, almost cathartic performances with Radiohead have made that band one of the premier groups of the last century. Yet, as he returned to the stage for the encore — the haze of the light show now lifted, leaving only himself and a single keyboard, lit only by a single spotlight — Yorke ran through a confidence-filled version of “Suspirium,” needing none of the gadgetry that just earlier served as the backdrop for his entire set. In the end, Yorke’s solo work only appeal to the most loyal of Radiohead fans, but it is still a work of sound and vision that is stunning in every way possible.