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Atoms For Peace At The Hollywood Bowl: Review

Samuel Schulte |
October 20, 2013 | 9:06 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

On Wednesday night, Atoms For Peace arrived at the Hollywood Bowl ready to celebrate.

Headed by Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke, the band also includes longtime producer and multi-instrumentalist Nigel Godrich and Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea. While it is impossible to avoid comparisons to Yorke's main creative outlet, Atoms For Peace is a different beast entirely. 

Born in Los Angeles, Atoms For Peace started as an impromptu "supergroup" of fellow musicians to help Yorke translate songs from his 2006 solo album "The Eraser" into a live setting.

Their laid-back jam sessions led to this year's "Amok," an album heavy on electronics and dance rhythms. By abandoning the weight of their previous material, Yorke and co. we're able to relax and groove with friends, family, and fans. 

While the tracks off "Amok" can sound slightly restrained on record, they came alive at the Bowl thanks to the band mates' immaculate instrumentation and their replace sense of fun. Songs like "Before Your Very Eyes..." and "Unless" opened up and revealed their funky core, with the cheerful musicians settling into deep grooves. 

With the percussionists expertly playing intricate drum patterns in the back, Yorke and Flea held much of the spotlight in the center of the stage. Maintaining his manic energy, Flea stomped around in a primal headspace, slapping his bass and hammering scales with virtuosic skill. Yorke flailed around the stage and riffed on his guitar, rocking into deep grooves with the band on tracks like "Feeling Pulled Apart Like Horses."

However, Yorke would occasionally sit down at a piano, such as on the acoustic version of "Ingenue" and the jazzy, U.N.K.L.E. classic "Rabbit In Your Headlights," to deliver strong emotions and haunting vocals. In these moments, Yorke displayed his immense talent for songwriting that has made Radiohead one of the all-time great rock bands. 

Announcing that it was both Flea's and percussionist Mauro Refosco's birthdays, Atoms For Peace seemed genuinely appreciative to be playing in their own backyard. For being dismissed as "dour" and serious, Thom Yorke let loose and comfortably chatted the crowd up. 

Closing out with his solo tracks "Atoms For Peace" and "Black Swan," he performed with gleeful energy rather than emotional anguish. Atoms For Peace shared their infectiously groovy vibes to the excited crowd, making for a show that neither will soon forget. 

Read more of NT's show reviews here.

Reach Staff Reporter Samuel Schulte here.



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