Genre: Alternative rock
There is probably no one band of the last twenty years whose music has been so thoroughly analysed and critically appraised as Radiohead. Every chord, every beat, every electronic ping and every nuance in the lyrics has been scrutinised in a way only matched by Mr Penguin when he wrote his Passnotes series to help A level students make sense out of William Shakespeare. OK Computer was Radiohead’s Hamlet, a musical masterpiece up there with Dark Side of the Moon and Sergeant Pepper. And to think that people thought that after Creep they were destined to be one-hit wonders.
Each Radiohead album tells a separate story, right through to number eight, The King of Limbs, released last year, as the quintet from Oxfordshire (the line-up has never changed, which is commendable in this day and age) continue to delight their minions. In Ed O’Brien and Jonny Greenwood the band has two of the most admired musicians in the world. And Thom Yorke is one of this planet of ours’ most acclaimed singers. And this has been rammed down our throats by the music press ad nausea for the last fifteen years. If you don’t like Shakespeare, you know nothing about literature. If you can’t see what’s so special about the Mona Lisa, you know nothing about art. If you fell asleep watching The Godfather, then you know nothing about cinema. And if you don’t simply adore Radiohead, then you know nothing about music. Well, personally, more than three Radiohead songs in a row and all I’m asking is when Yorke is going to quit his whining and shut the feck up.
There you go. I am a heathen. I can appreciate that they’re a very talented band, and they swap instruments and all that, but I can only listen to the sound of a drowning sheep so many times in one sitting. I haven’t got a clue what Shakespeare is going on about most of the time, I’ve seen more enigmatic looking birds than the Mona Lisa behind the checkout in the local supermarket, I never even bothered finding out what happened at the end of The Godfather, and though I wouldn’t go as far as to say I don’t like Radiohead, I do think they’re fiercely overrated.
But I wouldn’t quite go to the extreme of the Westboro Baptist Church. They picketed Radiohead’s concert in Kansas City with the message that “Freak monkeys with mediocre tunes keeps you busy and focused by lightness. It changes nothing, God is undoing and digging up and throwing down this nation.” I’m not too sure what their problem was, but apparently it had something to do with homophobia. Never even realised Radiohead were gay. And even if they were, so what?
But Radiohead also have to be commended for triumphing in the States, where they’ve collected Grammys and whatnot over a period when most of the great music coming out of the UK went unnoticed. Even Katy Perry made out to them with ‘the one that got away’. They’re doing America at the moment, and when they’re done, Radiohead have a series of gigs lined up around Europe, and in Spain, the BBK in Bilbao has bagged them. And good on ‘em I say, for beating all the beach parties to one of the biggest pulls of all.
Some might be disappointed that anything pre OK Computer now seems to have been dumped from the setlist. So no High and Dry, no Just, no Street Spirit (Fade Out) and not even Creep, which has been left in the not-so-safe hands of pub singers to destroy. None of them can whine quite like Thom Yorke, who had disassociated himself so much from the song that made him that it once came on the radio and it took him two minutes to notice that it was a Radiohead song. He’s either a liar or very, very stupid, and I don’t think it’s the latter.
Did you know: Paranoid Android is about Marvin off Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, who once said “Why should I want to make anything up? Life’s bad enough as it is without wanting to invent anymore of it.” You can tell why Radiohead identify with him.
2. 15 Step
3. Morning Mr. Magpie
4. Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
5. All I Need
6. Pyramid Song
7. The Daily Mail
11. Lotus Flower
12. There There
14. How to Disappear Completely
Encore: 16. Separator
20. Everything In Its Right Place
21. Give Up the Ghost
22. Paranoid Android