Radiohead mesmerise their Camden audience with a hit-laden set
Radiohead fans across the nation have waited anxiously for four years to hear the outstanding, oneiric Oxford band perform once again in the capital, and it was most definitely worth the wait. The first night of three sold out UK dates was hosted at Camden’s Roundhouse. At 3,300 capacity it is a surprisingly small venue for a band that has sold many more than 30 million albums worldwide.
The roar of the crowd rolled around the venue to welcome the band onstage before opening with ‘Burn The Witch’, proving to be an instant crowd favourite. Fans belt out ‘this is a low flying panic attack’ as Jonny Greenwood puts a violin bow to his guitar, creating the eerie orchestral edge we all know and love. To follow, Thom Yorke’s mesmerising vocals on ‘Daydreaming’ silenced the crowd as the celestial melody sent chills down spines. It had been a grand total of 4 minutes before Yorke and the band had truly captivated their audience, wide eyed and perfectly still the crowd looked on in awe at the band who after 30 years still have such a powerful, spiritual hold over their audience.
Using the first five tracks from their new album ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’ to open the show could be a big risk to take for any other band, considering the album was released just 12 days prior to the tour. But this isn’t just any old band, this is Radiohead. The crowd reacted to each of the new tracks as if they had been held in their hearts for twenty years or more. ‘There’s a space craft blocking out the sky’ Yorke sings in ‘Decks Dark’, and the lit up ceiling of the Roundhouse suddenly appears to resemble a space craft, the rising circles of light could convince anyone there was a UFO hovering above the gig that night.
After the calming and beautiful ‘Desert Island Disk’ the band erupts into the chaotic, layered masterpiece of delirium that is ‘Ful Stop’. The crowd were worked into a frenzy as the sounds grew thicker, with Yorke himself jittering back and forth across the stage holding a synthesiser. The meticulous arrangement of their music enraptures the crowd again and it became impossible to stay still, rolling the art of madness and the madness of art into one.
The rest of the two and a half hour set was filled with a pic’n’mix of old favourites, which proved the incredible versatility of the band in addition to pleasing each and every member of the crowd by covering all ground. ‘My Iron Lung’ was a definite crowd pleaser, paving the road to it “all getting a bit hitsville” according Yorke, not that anybody was complaining…
The crowd saw the tour debut of ‘Exit Music (For A Film)’, the surprise upon hearing the simplistic opening guitar from Yorke galvanised the crowd and kept them wanting more. The familiar ‘Identikit’ finally given studio production on the new album presents Radiohead for all that they are. The jittery beats joined with the classic paranoia tone which builds to the unfaltering chorus which had everyone belting “broken hearts, make it rain” repeatedly with Yorke.
‘Myxomatosis’ treated the crowd to Yorke’s truly fantastic and easily distinguishable dancing, followed by a refreshingly playful jest in relation to the varied set list, “turn the freaking corner, you don’t know what’s gonna happen next you see, it’s like Uber in London”. Following this the light and lustrous ‘Reckoner’ showcased once again Thom Yorke’s phenomenal falsetto.
After returning to the stage from the first of two encores Yorke teased the crowd by saying “we’re gonna stay here the night and we’re gonna play everything” followed by a cheeky “not!”. It’s safe to say this is the most playful and cheery fans have seen the band for a long time, and it is very well received. Launching into ‘Morning Mr Magpie’ the continuous nervous, scattered beat builds the crowd for an overwhelming rendition of ‘2+2=5’ whipping up a storm in the Roundhouse, it was evident that every person in there was most definitely losing their mind.
Following the mad moshpits and heightened ecstasy was ‘Nude’. Even the exceptionally multitalented Jonny Greenwood makes mistakes sometimes, accidentally hitting a wrong note, causing them to abort the song. Yorke asks the audience “you in a hurry?” before restarting the song and Greenwood was back to his seamless self, with ‘Planet Telex’ coming out of the shadows followed by the incredible ‘There There’. The second encore began with the gorgeous ‘Present Tense’ from the new album, followed by ‘You and Whose Army?’.
The night ended on an inevitable all time high with one of the bands biggest hits. ‘Paranoid Android’ had everyone filling their lungs to belt out every single word, with bodies moving to each note and beat. The band let loose, exciting the crowd who then started singing too early. Yorke chuckled as he told them ‘no no no, calm the fuck down’ before joining them. The noise grew hauntingly beautiful once again, chanting “god loves his children, god loves his children” before the last little zip of energy on guitar when the show so sadly had to come to an end. If only they had stayed and played all night…
This Radiohead article was written by Lauren Scott, a GIGsoup contributor. Photo credit : noise_jam