06
Mar
10

Thom Yorke gives Minnesota a miss (again)

You may have read the announcement that Thom Yorke’s new solo band, Atoms for Peace, will be doing a string of US shows this Spring. It’s just a few dates, but enough to point out that once again, as in Radiohead itineraries past, the Twin Cities have been left off the list, the assumption being that two shows in Chicago are enough to cover the Upper Midwest Market.

Radiohead haven’t played the Twin Cities since 1997. Now that show must have been amazing (it was 1997 after all). But how much longer can Minnesota fans (or fans from other under-served North American locales, of which there are many) tolerate this neglect?

I typically use Sigur Rós as a counter-example. The Icelandic soundscapers came to Mpls’s Orpheum Theatre in September 2005 to promote their splendid fourth album Takk… The show went so well — the audience rose for a standing ovation before the final song was even finished — that Sigur Rós decided to come back eight months later and play the exact same venue (with similar reception).

At this point, it’s clear that Radiohead have trapped themselves by touring America so infrequently compared to the growth of their popularity that they can’t play acoustically-flattering theaters anymore. Instead, they have to play catch-up with fans by headlining outdoor amphitheaters large enough to hold everybody. Case in point: the one time I was able to catch Radiohead, back in 2003, when they played Alpine Valley in East Troy, WI, an albatross of a venue more commonly associated with the eterna-touring likes of DMB, Phish, and Pearl Jam.  Long story short, it was not the life-altering experience my friends and I had been promised.

I know that the members of Radiohead are unusually (and admirably) responsible regarding their carbon footprint as a touring rock band, and that this might have something to do with their infrequent visits. But as a final point, I would have Mr. Yorke consider the fact that the emissions involved in swinging the ol’ tour bus past Milwaukee and Minneapolis once in a while are invariably going to be less that those collectively spitting out of hundreds of four-cylinder engines traveling from Minnesota, Wisconsin,  and Iowa just to see your bloody Chicago show!

(Although I suppose this is America’s fault for not having a better nationwide rail system… But whatever man. Atoms for Peace are just going to be playing The Eraser anyway…)

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