Radiohead invite Ed Balls to gig after he calls band’s Glastonbury set ‘dirge-like’

Drummer Philip Selway responds to criticism from former Labour MP

Radiohead drummer Philip Selway has invited Ed Balls to see the band again live after he described their headlining set at Glastonbury as “dirge-like”.

The band’s Pyramid stage appearance was the third time they’ve headlined the festival. NME described the set at the time as “an ‘OK Computer’-filled celebration” as Radiohead paid homage to their classic album, which turns 20 this year.

Following the set, former Labour politician – and Strictly Come Dancing contestant – Balls penned an article for The Guardian in which he described going to Worthy Farm for the first time.


“The atmosphere for Radiohead is funereal,” he wrote. “The end of each song barely acknowledged by anyone other than the hardcore fans at the front. People around us chat through the songs, openly bored at the dirge-like offerings. And yes, there is a good reason why the large screens sit either side of the stage to help faraway audiences stay engaged; if you fill the feed with fuzzy, blurry, psychedelic pap, then it’s no wonder you lose your audience.”

Balls added that he much preferred Major Lazer to Radiohead, saying: “What a contrast to go over to the Other stage and join the energy, excitement and musical wizardry of Major Lazer. It would have had me bouncing on the bed at home.”

Philip Selway

Speaking to NME today (August 18), Selway said that he hadn’t read Balls’ original comments, but added: “He’ll have to come again when we play again. Hopefully we can change his mind.”

Earlier this week, Selway announced a new solo soundtrack‘Let Me Go’ will be released on October 27 via Bella Union. It will serve as the soundtrack to the film of the same name, which is based on Austrian-born Helga Schneider’s memoir. In it, she tracks down her mother Traudi, only to discover she was a guard in concentration camps during the Holocaust.


The film is released on September 15, when a digital version of the album will also be made available.

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