Written By: Ryan Fu
It took a couple of days for me to sober up to do this concert review for Atoms for Peace playing their first album, AMOK at the Hollywood Bowl this past Wednesday but better late then never. First off, I’m the biggest Radiohead fan since Pablo Honey and OK Computer. It was something about their music that spoke to me in my troubled youth. Radiohead’s unique sound and Thom Yorke’s hauntingly beautiful voice made it one of our best bands in our generation. With that being said, Thom Yorke’s new band Atoms for Peace just might be just as good if not better or just different from Radiohead. If this is true, then can the great be greater?
Thom Yorke and members of Radiohead, which includes Ed O’Brien, Phillip Selway, Jonny and Colin Greenwood, all met while they going to school in England. They decided to form a band called “On a Friday”, but recording representatives decided they should change their name to Radiohead. Their first album, Pablo Honey featured one of my first favorite Radiohead song, “Creep”.
“I wish I was special, you’re so fucking special. But I’m a creep, I’m weirdo. What the hell am I doing here? I don’t belong here.”
I was hooked. And so was everyone else.
With their first album success came more albums, more hit songs, more reasons why to love them. Radiohead came to me in time in high school were you could call me a troubled youth, but really I was hellrazor. Countless times getting kicked out of high school, getting kicked out of catholic schools, or just getting kicked the crap out of in general. I ran in L.A. streets with my friends trying to do as much damage we could possibly do and we fucked shit up. The first time I heard Radiohead, I was just getting out of my first summer of doing Juvenile Detention. Hearing it for the first time, I felt like they knew what I was going thru with my anger and depression. Thom Yorke was like a voice of reason and hope, telling me that I can do better. I can be great.
On Wednesday night with the Man on the Moon smiling down on the Hollywood Bowl, that same man with a different band keeps inspiring people. Amok is the debut album from Atoms for Peace from Thom Yorke, which includes an eclectic band. Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nigel Godrich, Joey Waronker from R.E.M and Mauro Refosco from Forro in the Dark. With different musicians from great bands, they create a totally unique sound different from Radiohead. But I couldn’t tell the difference while I was standing there high and drunk, dancing and grooving, being transported back in time where I finally realized I should stop fucking up and do better for my own future. Any chance you can see Thom Yorke playing with Radiohead or Atoms for Peace live is a brighter future for you and all of us.
This article is dedicated to the late, great Ed Lauter and my first inspiration, my father.
We will miss you both.