Ah yes, a piece of news many of us may already be familiar with – Radiohead are coming to Ireland in June 2017, playing a gig in the 3 Arena. With shared posts and people desperately trying to get tickets littering our newsfeeds, is this hype justified? To those of you who are only familiar with Creep, it may not seem that way, so let’s take a look at why this hype exists in the first place (not a sponsored post btw).
Firstly, it’s been 8 years since Radiohead last visited these shores, back when they were still touring In Rainbows, before the domination of the smartphone and streaming sites. In that time, they’ve released 2 albums, one coming out this very year in fact – A Moon Shaped Pool (yes it does deserve all those good reviews, folks). In addition to those old fans, there’s all the new people who, in that space of time, have discovered Radiohead, a band with a large and quite varied discography.
Secondly, it is the strength of the band’s material. While their biggest song may be a great, albeit generic, slice of 90’s alt-rock, they have a well-deserved name as a band who make some of the most compelling music out there. Sonically, they draw influence from a number of quite disparate sources (REM, jazz, electronica, Neil Young, Tom Waits, 20th century classical music, science fiction), creating music that is highly unorthodox yet still retains a very human he art. Their unwillingness to take the easy path when it comes to song writing has kept their sound fresh over all these years. There’s a reason they’ve been around well over 2 decades at this stage and right now, with A Moon Shaped Pool, they’re on top of their game, what with its beautiful orchestral textures and throbbing undercurrent of sorrow.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Radiohead are a phenomenal live band. Their wide discography ensures that there’s something for everyone – the off-beat guitar driven numbers, the heart wrenching, more sombre numbers, the soothing and startling electronica. The light shows and screened images that dominate most large concerts are present, yet are used in a more tasteful manner by Radiohead, a band with a keen eye for the visual. Their recent supports have been of the avant-garde variety, so we should hopefully see one of the many Irish acts in that vein supporting them. In addition to this, their instrumental prowess and flexibility, along with a willingness to experiment during live shows, means that this show will be a quite unique one.
To those reading who slept through the ticket sales or just missed out thanks to computer programmes buying tickets in bulk, I feel your pain. I’ve missed out, like I have on many gigs in the past, through lack of time or funds or worrying too much about the logistics of getting there to think about how fun it’d be. Touting is also a serious issue, a sore on the music industry, that hopefully, someone more educated than me on the issue will pen an article on, for this platform. However, for now, I’ve decided to look at the positive side of things. One of the best bands of this era, a band close to my heart and the heart of many others, are playing Ireland. A band absent since 2008 are coming to play their biggest show here to date. For those of ye who’ve been able to get tickets, or who know people who were able to, this is undoubtedly going to be a very special occasion. In a year that’s been fraught with chaos and disorder, sometimes it’s necessary to reflect on the truly special moments. Hopefully those of ye who didn’t understand the hype are now able to grasp what exactly was driving your Facebook feeds wild.