A few months ago, Radiohead main man Thom Yorke released his new solo album ANIMA. Right now, Yorke is on tour across North America, playing shows with the band he’s calling Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes. It’s just three people — Yorke, regular collaborator Nigel Godrich, and visual artist Tarik Barri. Our own Chris DeVille caught their show recently and loved it. But for those of us who haven’t had the chance to go to a Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes show, Yorke has now given us our first real look at what that show might entail.
Last night, Yorke was the musical guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live. That alone is significant. Yorke, both in and out of Radiohead, doesn’t exactly do the whole publicity-tour thing when he’s got a new album out. (Yorke was a guest on Colbert a couple of weeks ago, but he was there to talk, not to perform.) And Yorke really took advantage of the Kimmel stage, letting Barri’s visuals take over the show and playing three songs for the internet audience.
On the show itself, Yorke sang the ANIMA opener “Traffic.” He started out crouched behind a bank of elaborate electronic equipment but then moved out front to do his wild, wriggly dances while Godrich and Barri manned their own control panels. The Kimmel producers turned the performance into a hazy head-trip, dissolving Yorke’s image into Barri’s fractal visuals. As online bonuses, Yorke also did the ANIMA tracks “Twist” and “Dawn Chorus.” For the latter, the visuals chilled out, and Yorke sat down at a keyboard to sing plangently. Altogether, it’s a hell of a performance. Watch the whole thing below.
Coincidentally enough, Yorke’s fellow UK rock legend Elton John was also on Kimmel last night, though he wasn’t there to perform. He discussed his new book, his farewell tour, playing charades with Bob Dylan and Neil Diamond, and the time he let Stevie Wonder drive his snowmobile. (“OK. That’s another rival gone.”) Here’s the interview:
ANIMA is out now on XL. Let’s all have fun imagining the Elton John/Thom Yorke green-room conversation.