WAITING IS A PAIN. BUSES, TRAINS, pregnancy and. of course. new pop records. You know what happens: you wait for ages then three come along at once. But for pregnancy and pop records usually one is enough. For Radiohead fans. three years of waiting was over on Saturday I July as the band unveiled their new material in the UK in front of 2000 salivating admirers.
London's Royal Festival Hall is not used to such an influx of feverish youthfulness. This is a 'concert hall‘ in the strictest sense. and the besuited ushers give an air of kitsch formality to the muggy summer evening. Heck. they even make polite announcements when the bands are about to come on.
OK Computer projected Radiohead into superstardom worldwide and its successor has been
as hotly anticipated as any record of
the last five years. It even draws the likes of Gail Porter. David Thewlis and Robbie Williams out for a listen. Such was the demand for tickets. that they were changing hands for £80 each outside. After all. how do you follow up a record which Q rated above The White Album. Revolver and Definitely Maybe as the best ever inade?
We didn‘t have to wait long to find out as they kicked off with ‘()ptimistic‘. a patient. almost psychedelic Beatles-tinged trot which is as unbombastic a return to home soil as you could possibly make. The new songs have only been aired in public less than a dozen times but the band‘s confidence in them is immediately apparent: few would start a show of such importance this way unless they could be sure the new material was their best.
During the two-hour show we get
five songs each from ()K ('(mipuler
and The Bends. a stray b-side and ten new songs that will make up the majority of the. as yet untitled record due out in September. The new stuff is varied in both sound and texture. falling roughly into two camps. There are the straight ahead pop songs which are predominately gentle. downbeat affairs. while the others are self-consciously non-chorus tracks. usually built on a single drum and
26 THE “ST 6 20' lal 2000
bass riff which mushrooms out. forming into a huge. throbbing sonic morass.
Guitarists Jonny (ireenwood and lid ()‘Brien seem even more inclined to use their guitars to generate a whole host of new pulses. buzzes and rattles. This is exemplified on 'l-iverything In Its Right l’lace' and the sensational 'ligyptian Song‘. which is led by a wandering piano riff and the crystalline guitar lines utilised so well before on tracks like ‘No Surprises'.
For all this unveiling of the new. it
is credit to the quality of their older
material that there are virtually no dips. ‘lixit Music" still has the ability to stun a crowd into silence with vocalist Thom Yorke‘s near-mumble and acoustic strum. building desperately into a lumbering mechanical giant. This. along with a stellar rendition of lucky". proves to be the highlight of the show.
Double bass is employed for the first time to great effect and only
The ground-breaking OK Computer shattered the notion that rock music was
As Oasis implode, Blur meander, REM stutter, and Travis just plain bore, we realise how vital a band like Radiohead are to British music, if not the world
dead in the water. Following up that mighty record has been a long and difficult road but The List was there to witness the return of RADIOHEAD.
Words: Mark Robertson Photograph: Angela Lubrano
Reluctant saviour Thom Yorke stuns his crowd into silence
during another new song ‘Dollars And Cents'. does it feel that their studio trickery has failed to translate into the live arena. its looping bassline falling over itself among a wealth of other noises. They finish with the portentously titled 'llow To Disappear Completely And Never Be Found. It is very unlikely that this is going to happen to them.
As ()asis implode. Blur meander. REM stutter. and Travis just plain bore. we realise how vital a band like Radiohead are to British music. if not the world. They may be reluctant saviours and in truth. they probably won‘t rescue anything. but they might
just give us a reason to rush out that
morning to the record shop or stand in a crowd and get sweaty again. Tonight's show was all the evidence we ever needed.
Radiohead play Glasgow Green on Thu 28 & Fri 29 Sep. Ticket hotline 0870122 0011.