Thom Yorke, a haunting apparition, brought beauteous melancholy to the Observatory North Park on his Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes tour.

Thom Yorke at Observatory North Park by Sylvia Borgo

Thom Yorke

Opening for Thom Yorke was Oliver Coates, electronic composer and masterful cellist who has collaborated alongside Radiohead, and whose cello work can be heard on releases A Moon Shaped Pool, The Phantom Thread, and Under the Skin among many others.

Coates, alone onstage, crafted beautiful, dynamic, electronic music, accompanied by his emotive cello playing. It’s not an easy feat to open for such a uniformly-acclaimed musician like Yorke, but Coates’ gift for hypnotic, entrancing composition proved enthralling. His performance began restrained, a sparse composition that morphed into delicate swells of thunderous, distorted synths and cello. An evolution of sound took place in those moments, and over the course of his performance, he shaped that sound to illustrates sentiments inexpressible through words.

Not long after, Yorke emerged, a spectre among his peers before launching into “Interference” off his second solo album, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes. Backed by a large three-panel monitor, Yorke’s set was visually stunning. His songs seemed painted by the abstract renderings floating across the screens behind him, constantly shifting, a visual manifestation germinating from the songs being performed.

The songs were an expansive, ethereal, cathedral of sound. Blending together, from one to the next, an esoteric rendering of music in a way so few performers are capable of. More than anything, however, Thom Yorke is known for his voice. When Yorke had moments to let his voice shine, it was intoxicating. His voice seemed to hang in the air, the way light cuts through the low hanging fog, stunning and inimitable, a ghostly siren gently wailing through the night.

Yorke and his band ran through fan favorites “Black Swan,” “Atoms for Peace,” and “Default.” He closed out the night with a second encore of the track “Suspirium,” off his newly released soundtrack Suspiria.

Photos by: Sylvia Borgo
Review by: Brian Strauss

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