A Quiet Treasure
The memory of Grace Jones' performing 'Slave to the Rhythm' whilst hula hooping in a corset and thong on Saturday night contrasts starkly with Yorke's meek arrival when he takes to the stage on Sunday morning. Jones verbally lashing both "the fucking curfew" and a soundman who must have been suicidal to turn off her mic, gave way to a set in which Yorke approached the piano and gulped "Oh fuck", before warning the audience that "Shhhh, people are sleeping....".
The Obelisk arena at Latitude was filled with the devoted and the curious, eager to hear the guy from Radiohead. Oddly, the failure of the giant screens which would actually allow you to see Yorke becomes not a deficiency but a boon, as the audience is forced to concentrate on the music itself. Yorke constantly moves from electric to acoustic to keyboard and piano, with a set filled with any number of unsettling minor chord changes. Cymbal Rush and Eraser are gorgeous and soft, like Neil Young caught between After the Goldrush and On The Beach. New song The Present Tense can only be a candidate for that next album.
After several attempts Black Swan succesfully loops percussion and vocals in a swathe of wraithlike tones flying over the heads of the crowd. Harrowdown Hill is a menacing dark electro funk, a pure warning of "you will be dispensed with, when you become inconvenient...". Yet the melancholy that many of the audience must have expected from Yorke is actually replaced with playfulness between songs, including a threat to change into a G string. Everything In Its Right Place, and an encore of There There give the devoted what they want. But there was no need, this was a gig that needed nothing extra to make it a quiet treasure.