October 3, 2009 9:17

Radiohead's Thom Yorke debuts new band in LA

Frontman plays 'warm-up gig' with members of Red Hot Chili Peppers and REM

Radiohead's Thom Yorke debuts new band in LA
Radiohead's Thom Yorke debuted new material with an all-star backing band at an intimate venue in Los Angeles tonight (October 2).

The frontman rolled out several tunes with the new band, which featured Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, R.E.M collaborator Joey Waronker, Brazilian multi-instrumentalist Mauro Refosco, and producer Nigel Godrich. Tickets for the last-minute "secret" gig at the Echoplex were at a premium, selling out in a matter of minutes and reportedly being scalped online for as much as $3,000.

Yorke was in incredibly high spirits, dancing, smiling and even joking with the audience, which included Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon, actresses Rosanna Arquette and Ellen Page, famed producer Rick Rubin, and members of Neon Neon and Cold War Kids. "Welcome to the 'rehearsal,'" he said, miming quotes in the air with his hands.

He kicked things off with the title track from his 2006 solo album 'The Eraser' before seguing into 'Analyse' and running through the tracklist of his debut full-length. The band kept the pace, adding layers to the material and breathing new life into it.

Flea, who began the evening playing nonchalantly off to the side of the stage, gradually moved toward centre stage, sharing the spotlight with Yorke while jamming on his bass guitar. At one point in the evening, a member of the audience shouted, "Play some Skynyrd!" Yorke responded by flashing both middle fingers, saying, "You think I should be playing Stone Temple Pilots too?"

After a rousing 50-minute set, the band left the stage. Yorke returned for what began as a solo encore, performing the piano-based ballad 'Open The Floodgates' as well as 'Lotus Flower' all on his own. The din of the crowd could be heard above the quiet tunes, which prompted Yorke to say, "If you want to have a chat, go fuck off outside, all right?" The crowd cheered and then quieted down.

After struggling through the opening notes of a couple of tracks (the only evidence that this was, in fact, a rehearsal) Yorke invited the rest of the band back on stage to debut several new tunes that showcased almost tribal rhythms augmented by synthesizers and his distinctive falsetto.

"This one is brand, brand, brand, brand new," Yorke said of several of the tracks, which were received positively by the audience. The band ended the night with an explosive version of 'Feeling Pulled Apart By Horses'.

Thom Yorke played:

'The Eraser'
'The Clock'
'Black Swan'
'Skip Divided'
'Atoms For Peace'
'And It Rained All Night'
'Harrowdown Hill'
'Cymbal Rush'
'Open The Floodgates'
'Lotus Flower'
'Skirting On The Surface'
'Judge, Jury, Executioner'
'Paperbag Writer'
'The Hollow Earth'
'Feeling Pulled Apart By Horses'

Yorke and his new band are set to perform two more shows in Los Angeles at the Orpheum Theatre on October 4 and 5.

--By our Los Angeles staff.
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