Victoria Park, London
In our recent interview with Silver Jews front man David Berman, he described festivals as a form of mass date-rape, where you get a load of willing victims into a field and rob them of what they think they hold dear. He also directed a few comments towards Radiohead, so while I stood for hours in a queue for beer in Victoria Park for the first night of the Radiohead extravaganza, my thoughts turned towards Berman's comments and what he might make of this. The band had turned Victoria Park into their own festival and it was huge. Swarms of people queued for food and drink, Berman would have puked. When the band started up, my intentions of getting near to the front were seriously downgraded so I had to settle for 80 meters back catching a fleeting glimpse of the pin prick on the horizon that I presumed was Thom Yorke.
So the venue was way too big, there were way too many dickheads in the crowd who had clearly come to chat to one-another rather than watch the show and I was way too far away for my liking. But, the music was sensational. I realised that night that Radiohead's music needs to be heard under an open sky. In this context it doesn't matter where you are standing as simply turning your gaze skyward releases this music into infinity where it belongs. It was such a still night and the sound drifted across to me perfectly. Set-wise it was a different story to the Hammersmith gig in 2006, with pretty much all of In Rainbows getting a thorough airing along with many choice morsels from Kid Amnesiac. Hail To The Thief was severely neglected with only There There representing and when any of the older songs cropped up they were not your usual choices. But this was the story of the night for me. I've heard Karma Police, Paranoid Android, The Bends and Fake Plastic Trees countless times live, but tonight it was a case of rediscovering under appreciated gems. Jonny Greenwood excelled himself on many occasions but his layered sampling on Climbing Up The Walls was truly stunning and coupled with Yorke's hauntingly lazy vocals this emerged as a surprising high point.
With each Radiohead gig I attend, I crave less and less these old favorites as the new songs - whether released or not - are so fresh and live. In Rainbows doubled in size under this still night sky with songs like Reckoner, Jigsaw and the chilling atmospherics of Videotape beaming up into the air with euphoric majesty. As Yorke retreated to the second drum kit for Bangers & Mash, Jonny Greenwood was left unattended up the front - an opportunity he seized with both hands providing a seriously fucked up, twisted version of this already raw track with avant guard screeches darting from his contorted guitar like a modern-day Coltrane. The whole evening was brought to an all too early close with one of the best moments of the night. The two big screens that flanked the stage displayed some multi angle camera work split into 4 sections, but as the opening chords of You And Who's Army? crept into view the whole screen was filled with a huge Yorke eye as he stretched up to pear into the lens. This minimal song with it's weary vocals accompanied by this all-seeing eye was mesmerising and as it gave way to the frenetic beats of Idioteque the night was complete.
Outdoor gigs always take shape as night falls and never has this been more true than here. As Yorke emerged after the encore and played a stripped down piano version of The Eraser's Cymbal Rush you could have heard a pin drop out there in that park. The shear size of the venue occasionally diluted the experience, as it's hard to feel connected to a band when you're so far away - but for a long term fan like myself to be reintroduced to songs I know so well is a treat and an unexpected delight. This band have all bases covered, from the light show to the live video art that attempts to do way more than simply show the people at the back what's going on. I would have to disagree with Mr. Berman, as on leaving the park I was buoyant with having been in the presence of greatness and though I strained to see anything and queued for an eternity in my own personal headspace I was flying.
27th Jun 2008 - Tumblr4
Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free
Enthusiasticly directed sequence of unrelated musical set pieces.
31st Dec 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Yet another biggest-battle-yet, with more than a passing nod to BTTF2.
30th Dec 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Thoughtfully assembled montage doc.
30th Dec 2019Read more 3.5 star reviews
Decent origin story, with charm and some 90s nostalgia.
27th Dec 2019Read more 3 star reviews
The Rise of Skywalker
Freestyle bouillabaisse with all the ingredients, but no chef.
27th Dec 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Quintessential indie movie ...funded by Netflix. Great perfs, lovely camera work and solid direction.
22nd Dec 2019Read more 4 star reviews
Superior modern thriller. Smart script and accomplished direction.
15th Dec 2019Read more 4 star reviews
Long, slow, thoroughly enjoyable loose jam through Scorsese/DeNiro/Pacino/Pesci/Keitel’s greatest hits.
2nd Dec 2019Read more 4 star reviews
Batman via Scorsese, in impeccably art directed, neatly packaged origin story.
28th Nov 2019Read more 4 star reviews
Surprisingly strong sequel that gets going after a convoluted start.
24th Nov 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Casual drama from Clint Eastwood, with the man himself anchoring things through a charming turn.
16th Nov 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Luscious period drama. Beautifully put together - like Wolf Hall+.
3rd Nov 2019Read more 3.5 star reviews
Throw away Breaking Bad expansion piece with little tension or jeopardy.
13th Oct 2019Read more 2.5 star reviews
Stylish but incoherent Cheney biopic, hampered by another one-note turn from Bale.
5th Oct 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Mind numbingingly basic biopic, saved by the nostalgia for the music and moments.
5th Oct 2019Read more 2 star reviews
Interesting doc following the lives of 3 teens becoming adults, tied together by skateboarding.
28th Sep 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Painful, occasionally uplifting viewing with a grief stricken central performance.
28th Sep 2019Read more 3.5 star reviews
Into the Spider-Verse
Stylish, trippy concept animated superhero flick with some great moments.
21st Sep 2019Read more 3.5 star reviews
Young adult upgrade, with just enough Conchords humour to keep it enjoyable.
22nd Aug 2019Read more 2.5 star reviews
Decent Aussie surf drama, that nostalgically investigates the soul of surfing before losing its way a little.
14th Aug 2019Read more 3.5 star reviews
Somewhat unremarkable, but enjoyable music drama. Bit long.
13th Jul 2019Read more 3.5 star reviews
Predictably grim seaside coming-of-age indie. Decent enough, but you’ve seen it before
13th Jul 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Stylish sequel, hampered in places by some authentic 1960s pacing.
30th Jun 2019Read more 3.5 star reviews
Out-there kids fable with an old school Tim Burton vibe.
16th Jun 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Rock solid 90s style indie movie. Beautifully assembled at all levels.
31st May 2019Read more 4 star reviews
Fairly one-sided Police doc about the seemingly dislikeable trio.
7th May 2019Read more 2.5 star reviews
Decent, but slightly muddled parenting indie.
28th Apr 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Forgettable re-imagining of a not totally unforgettable Disney classic.
27th Apr 2019Read more 3.5 star reviews
Solid stop-motion animation that’s light on plot, but high on charm.
12th Apr 2019Read more 2.5 star reviews
Surprisingly stylish sequel that drops the ball in classic straight-to-VHS style halfway through.
6th Apr 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Opaque Alaskan thriller from Jeremy Saulnier, with little regard for convention.
1st Apr 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Low key indie spin on Rambo, as a father and daughter try and live off grid.
28th Mar 2019Read more 3.5 star reviews
Fun biopic that runs out of steam about when the band did.
25th Mar 2019Read more 3 star reviews
A diminished remake of Deadpool 1. Occasional LOLs.
25th Mar 2019Read more 2.5 star reviews
High concept sci-fi that stretches its concept a little thin.
19th Mar 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Unremarkable, cliche-ridden actioner. Utterly lacking in suspense.
17th Mar 2019Read more 2.5 star reviews
A disjointed patchwork of homages, nods and rip offs from dozens of other movies, with little to offer of its own.
11th Mar 2019Read more 2 star reviews
Laborious, high-concept alien horror. While the concept is good, the beats are all well telegraphed.
2nd Mar 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Witty, if a little obvious, post-meta rom-com.
1st Mar 2019Read more 3 star reviews
The Second Part
It’s literally a re-hash of all the themes of the first one with a few less jokes.
23rd Feb 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Slight, but sometime engaging iPhone feature.
26th Jan 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Decent modern spin on Mary Poppins. Bit uneven, but a nice soundtrack helps things along.
20th Jan 2019Read more 3.5 star reviews
Bog standard entry into The-Rock-action-movie genre. As much personality as a computer game.
3rd Jan 2019Read more 3 star reviews
This time it’s really, really serious. Seriously.
27th Dec 2018Read more 3 star reviews
It’s a musical ...but slick direction makes it just about bearable.
24th Dec 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Pop-culture bouillabaisse, hampered by numerous terrible accents.
24th Dec 2018Read more 3.5 star reviews
Pacey, emotional, old-fashioned indie pic. Beautifully observed.
15th Dec 2018Read more 4 star reviews
Surprisingly underwhelming biopic that doesn’t find its feet until 20m from the end.
24th Nov 2018Read more 3.5 star reviews
Utterly derivative / thoroughly enjoyable ‘Heat’ rip off.
21st Nov 2018Read more 3.5 star reviews