Radiohead is a Drug (Hummingbird, Take 2)

“For a minute there, I lost myself…”

The second show at the Hummingbird re-affirmed my belief that Radiohead is a drug. To be taken live. As frequently as possible.

The setlist hardly matters, since last night was not just a bunch of songs strung together, but the creation of texture and atmosphere. Which is what Radiohead does best.

In contrast to Wednesday’s show, the sound was better, the band tighter and more focussed. They seemed to be in more of a mood to rock, and blessedly this time Jonny Greenwood was anything but restrained! My inner headbanger enjoyed every second of the guitar-heavy and anthemic tunes: 2+2=5, Fake Plastic Trees, Climbing Up The Walls, Karma Police, Myxomatosis, Spooks, Paranoid Android, and Just. Even the new songs sounded more aggressive than the night before, and I was reminded that despite the usual emphasis on melody, Radiohead is all about percussion.

Spine-tingling moments:

  • Jonny bent over his keyboards like a mad scientist conjuring a monster Thom on Myxomatosis.
  • Thom’s singing. On everything. Nearly note-perfect and displaying an incredible range of both pitch and character.
  • Kid A and Let Down, the former being a live rarity and the latter I’d never even heard them do before.
  • The premiere of Down Is The New Up.
  • The crowd blissfully singing along to Karma Police—which considering the nastiness of the lyrics was more than a little creepy.
  • Spooks. (Thom Yorke: “What the hell was that?! <laughing>)
  • Jonny playing drums on a new tune as well as on There There.

Now it’s Montreal’s turn. Lucky bastards.

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