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Thom Yorke - Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes Tour

Thom Yorke - Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes Tour

By Jennifer Blaesing Lotus Mob | A.F.T.A.

In a highly anticipated return to Chicago for Thom Yorke, the Radiohead frontman gave a solo performance not to be missed this evening.

The show featured opener Oliver Coates, an experimental cellist from London. I arrive soon after he begins his set with his haunting, voice like cello singing through the entire Chicago Theatre. I am seated about 20 yards from the stage, all the way to the left in an aisle seat, directly across from a statue of a cherub-like boy holding up a bowl, on a black and white checkered floor, in a half-circle cutout in the wall - a statue I had never seen before in my many visits to the Chicago Theatre. It seemed rightfully fitting to be seated next to this angelic presence for this special occasion.


Oscar took a shy moment to muster up some words about how Yorke had found him on YouTube, and asked him to be part of his tour, and he was now to play for us some atmospheric dreamy melodies “to prepare us for the storm that is to come…”

Nevertheless, it isn’t quite clear how to prepare for a Thom Yorke show. This was to be a Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes tour, which was released in 2014. Just recently, he composed the film score to the remake of Suspiria. Not to mention with his debut solo album, The Eraser, and the works created with Atoms for Peace, his solo library is such a vast collection from so many branches, it's hard to determine what surprises he will throw in.

Yorke enters the stage with Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich and visual artist Tarik Barri. The show begins with “Interference”, with hypnotic, colorful visual effects by Barri. The audience is eager and enthusiastic, a welcome treat for a Chicago crowd. No one is sitting in their seats, everyone is standing. In my aisle seat, I am fortunate enough to have a killer view whether seated or standing, but of course, I opt to stand as well. Others from seats further back have scooted up the aisle and are hanging out in the cherub boy’s lair beside me.


It all started to swirl together in a euphoric haze (and no, I was not on mushrooms)... the geometric and hypnotic graphics show, the ebb and flow of the songs from dreamy and haunting to hard, wicked dance beats, the angelic boy statue crew, people dancing and cheering. I was swept up, like surfing a wave or a whimsical carpet ride in their geniusly crafted sensational art world.

Much like Yorke’s performance at the Radiohead show over the summer this year, there was a noticeable focus on vocal and emotional precision, more so this year than in tours of distant past, where he seemed to enjoy convulsing around the stage a lot more often. The performance with the trio was fully engaging and mesmerizing. And to see Nigel Godrich joining on the stage was a rare treat as well.


Thom was sure to thank the audience after each and every song. Possibly to show genuine appreciation, or to note the division between songs, as many of the tracks bled together. There was a good selection from Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, as expected. Notables from The Eraser were “Black Swan,” “Atoms for Peace,” and “Cymbal Rush.” Several thrown in into the mix weren’t recognizable, even for a pretty die-hard Yorke fan like myself. More favorites included Radiohead’s “Reckoner,” and Atoms for Peace’s “AMOK” and “Default.”

Thom had mentioned in interviews that writing the Suspiria score was more like casting spells than writing songs, a process he called “fuckin’ weird” just before playing his 2nd encore and final song, “Unmade,” which was the only song he played from the film score. But it was evident that he seemed affected by this process creatively in the way that he was interacting with the crowd. Of course, he was his usual energetic, jumpy-twitchy happy self, but as opposed to a Radiohead show, this one had a feeling of actually being cast under Thom’s spells. It was hard to tell if it was the music that gave this kind of feel, or the way he was looking out at us, the way he was gesturing to us with his arms wide open, as if preaching, or as if opening his heart out and welcoming us all into some secret world only Mr. Yorke and his crew seem to know about.


It was almost as though he seemed to have a new appreciation for his own work, and was joyous to share and present it with all those present, who had the ears to hear. Check out the set list below!

NIN Tour: "Cold and Black and Infinite"


"Cold and Black and Infinite"

Photography By A.F.T.A.

Photography By A.F.T.A.



Reaching the middle of their tour, “Cold and Black and Infinite” Nine Inch Nails played night one of three at the Aragon Ballroom with The Jesus & Mary Chain and Gabe Gurnsey.

It was as if Trent shot out of a cannon on stage Thursday night starting off the show. I have to say from his dancing, smiling and ad-libbed lyrics he really brought something special to the event you can only get from being there. The band did not disappoint, taking us on a musical emotional roller coaster, as well as Reznor telling a story of his time seeing Ministry at Aragon as a fan in 1989!

Trent also whole heartedly told the crowd, “Thank you, we needed this”. I am not exactly sure what that means, but if he is referring to the love and support of his Chicago fans, he has it! Two nights remain in Chicago and I’m sure they won’t disappoint.

Check out the set list below.


  1. Mr. Self Destruct

  2. The Perfect Drug

  3. Wish

  4. Less Than

  5. March of the Pigs

  6. The Lovers

  7. This Isn't the Place

  8. Reptile

  9. Shit Mirror

  10. Ahead of Ourselves

  11. God Break Down the Door

  12. Copy of A

  13. Gave Up

  14. I'm Afraid of Americans

    (David Bowie cover)

  15. The Hand That Feeds

  16. Starfuckers, Inc.

    (first time played since 2008)

  17. Head Like a Hole


  1. All the Love in the World

  2. Over and Out

  3. Hurt

( Setlist from

Get your tickets for nights two and three of the Chicago tour here:


A.F.T.A. TASTE: The Night Of Synth & Sounds...

Empty Bottle Review 10/22/2018

By Hope Taylor | A.F.T.A.

The Empty Bottle lineup on Monday took dystopia-synth pop and 90’s Industrial electronic to a new level! I enjoyed the eb and flow of each artists performance not only in matching sound, but in each ones intricate style and setup as well! Let me explain further...

Z. Soniat

This heavy hitting act nails down the term EBM - “electronic body music”. This is the first time I am hearing of this genre, “EBM” and I can only describe it as sounding industrial in nature with Kraftwork resembling beats, mixed with Dark Detroit Techno. The live performance was awesome, as well as intricate and left me curious as to how she hot wired up corded phones to change the pitch and frequency of her music!?

Check out more here:


This guy really took me by surprise…In a good way! His quiet demeanor and look coming to stage does not prepare you for the intense industrial edge he brings. It’s like NIN mixed with Prodigy, mixed with every electronic 90’s heavy industrial synth influence all packed into one. For his performance he really went all out using a mix of live complex drum sequences, aggressive synths and a strong partially modularized vocal effect throughout the show. If you don’t know him yet, you’re missing out!

Check him out on bandcamp here:

Jenny Pulse

This evening’s main event was Jenny Pulse, she was celebrating her Record Release show for the new album, Marmalade (out Friday, October 26, via New York label Drop Medium).

Her vibe is very synth-pop, meeting in the middle with an electro-indie house feel. The performance was definitely more calm compared to the other acts that evening. If your looking for smooth beats and breathy, dream-like vocals then look no further.

Check out her Soundcloud here:

Gel Set

This artist has a beautiful, airy and subtly eerie voice that rings throughout her tracks. She combines this with a new wave feel, heavy synth sounds and hard experimental/industrial beats.

Check her out on bandcamp here: