THOM YORKE’S TOMORROW’S MODERN BOXES
Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes North American Tour 2018
with Oliver Coates
Thom Yorke has some more detached alienation and hypnotic isolation he’d like to share with you.
Touring on the strength of his latest solo release dating back to 2014, with tracks also mixed in from his album with Atoms for Peace, alongside his other solo LP “The Eraser”, “Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes” is an album further pushing along Thom’s ambient approach to synths and sampled beats, demanding deep listening, punctuated at least on this current tour with mind bending visuals courtesy of Tarik Barri, a Dutch audiovisual composer.
It’s cool that Thom invited Tarik to visually accompany him on this solo tour, along with producer / musician / composer Nigel Godrich.
Intimate anguish abounds from this performance at the one and only Chicago Theatre, with songs such as “Truth Ray”, and opener “Interference” as examples of sucking you in and embracing emotional defeat.
Thom Yorke throughout this performance writhes, shakes and moves in such awkward stances like he wants to shed out of his skin and morph into someone else all together.
It’s captivating to witness live and to photograph Thom in person, you, as a a photographer, stunned in wonderment whenever you see Yorke Perform live.
Although the setlist for tonight’s show is Thom Yorke solo heavy- their happens to be an exception, and it comes during the first song during the encore, with “Reckoner”, a trancey and captivating song from Radiohead’s 2007 album “In Rainbows”.
Live electronica doesn’t always win audiences over in a live setting, what with the makeshift fold out tables front and center, usually draped in cloth, mixers on top, some modicum of lighting and the occasional LED screen for a backdrop.
Not the case at all with Thom Yorke’s production. Anything but.
Five giant and vertical and sophisticated LED screens, with visuals done with painstaking sharpness and delight by Tarik Barri.
It’s clear that Yorke’s voice would be front and center, with his rich, and lushful tones sounding as extraordinary as ever.
Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich created a dynamic soundscape braced with visuals, accompanied with guitars which they shared, synths, keys, loops, samples, and pads to play from song to song, and the visuals getting more mind bendingly crazy as the show progressed, from orange balls floating up and down vertically, to yellow spiderwebs, pollen globules, waves of melted fingerprints, let alone the cool visuals of black ink mixing in oil and water.
Trance inducing, to say the least.
When Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes was originally released, it somehow didn’t take off or get critical acclaim as it should.
Here we are some 4 years later, and we’re witnessing the album performed live and in technicolor.
Makes you want to go back and listen to the album in it’s entirety once again, to pick out the things you might’ve missed the first time.
Suffice it to say that Thom Yorke put on a terrific show, leaping and contorting from stage left to stage right, leaving the audience in awe, to the point throughout the show that you could hear a pin drop.
Everything about this show was different, and most compelling.
Just the way I Bet Thom Yorke wanted it.
Opener was Oliver Coates, an ambient kind of new age composer on electronic cello, with songs that although instrumental, and done solo, still had moments of trancey landscapes fed through sample machines.
Cheers- Bobby Talamine – Music Photographer