Atoms for Peace, Flying Lotus
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Better than: scouring the Internet for leaks of Flying Lotus' Cosmogramma.
The glowing eyes of two Moorish, gold Genies peered out over the Fox Theater Wednesday night. Fans had bought the place out to take in two of the perceived finest in their respective games: Thom Yorke and his art-rock power project Atoms For Peace and Flying Lotus and his pockets of dope, experimental beats.
Flying Lotus, though he looked tiny behind his DJ console amongst the throngs of fans, managed to fill the room with his experimental hip-hop. That included shakers and claps, like wood planks slapping concrete, church organ and bass reverberating from here to Kingdom Come, a clatter of chimes and a splash of lasers, and a woodblock pattern that rocked like new-new jack swing.
It was a tough set to digest at first. But between the floor rumbling and FlyLo himself, grooving to his own music much harder than most DJs, the performance caused a well-earned ruckus on the floor. He ended his set--earlier than he needed to--with a Radiohead remix.
A while later, Yorke and Co., including Flea on bass, took the stage to the sound of choral music overhead. I moved to the mixing booth--ask any of the geezers sipping beer in that area and they'll tell you it's the best sounding spot. And though you can't see shit there, the air is thick with music.
In Atoms of Peace's case, this meant a heavy rhythm section anchored by Joey Waronker (Beck, R.E.M.) on drums and Mauro Refosco, a Brazilian percussionist who brought along every rhythm toy in the catalog. The result was a lean sound, like Radiohead with an Afrobeat component. Though longtime Radiohead producer Godrich, with enough keys to battle Paul Schaffer, occasionally slipped into melodies, he mostly stuck to atmospherics. And even when Yorke whipped out a guitar--during the climax of every song it seemed--he stuck mostly to strumming patterns. Flea actually took a turn on the melodica, which was the most melodious part of the set.
Once I regained a vantage, I saw that Yorke was "doing his dance," as I heard it put. This vile little shimmy, which involves the guy putting his hands high above his head, tugging his too-small t-shirt above his boxer shorts, makes Dave Matthews' 'crazy legs dance' look like a well-oiled rhumba.