11 juillet 1993, San Francisco, Slim’s
Review de Michael Snyder (San Francisco Chronicle, 13 juillet 1993)
British Rockers Ride a Hit Called creep
Hot single draws full house for local debut
« You’re so f—ing special, » sang Thom Yorke of Radiohead at Slim’s on Sunday night. A portion of the full-unto-jammed house yelped in delight. Yorke was performing creep — the designated epiphany during Radiohead’s Bay Area debut. The concert, which also featured the Toronto-based folk-grunge quartet Crash Vegas, was one of those frequent opportunities to discover where pop hype ends and substance begins. The bands acquitted themselves with honor and style and showed great promise. Singer Michelle McAdorey of Crash Vegas was particularly persuasive, but the lure of the show for most patrons was creep
. Every so often, a song clambers out of obscurity and into the public’s embrace. Stars are born, careers are built, money is made, etc. Or there’s a brief flash, followed by a puff of smoke, as the act that recorded the song disappears into the annals of pop music history. Radiohead, the novice rock band from the English university town of Oxford, could go either way. Right now, creep is their calling card — a tender, sweetly melodic ballad that devolves into an expression of self-loathing with a sudden, loud crunch of electric guitars.
creep, which is reminiscent of doo-wop love songs, David Bowie’s Rock and Roll Suicide and the Hollies’ The Air That I Breathe, is particularly notable for that recurring obscene adverb in the verse. Last September, Live 105« (KITS-FM) — the local radio station with the »modern rock” format — ignored the provocative nature of the lyric and began playing a British import single of creep. The response was so great that creep was designated the station’s No. 1 song of 1992 in a year-end listener poll.
American versions of creep and Pablo Honey, Radiohead’s first album, were finally released this spring. Now, a sanitized version of the single is an MTV video staple. It’s creeping onto Top 40 radio and up Billboard’s Hot 100 pop singles chart.
So the Slim’s audience was ready for creep, and greeted the songs with a roar. Painful, self-deprecating, post-adolescent angst was the quintet’s main thrust, as creep would suggest. But the big surprise was the overall quality and musical diversity of Radiohead’s set, which roamed the stylistic range from to punk to folk-rock to glam to shoe-gazer solipsism to noise-pop. The band — Jonny Greenwood and Ed O’Brien on guitars, Colin Greenwood on bass, Phil Selway on drums and Yorke on vocals and guitar — was up to the task of such eclecticism. Despite the straight forward nature of most of the arrangements, the triad of guitars spiced things up by building into layers of sound or intersecting and jousting for dominance.
Yorke’s persona mixed Jagger-Iggy Pop stage moves, puppy-eager bounce and expressions of agony over thwarted love. On stop whispering, Yorke — lank, peroxided blond hair flying — sounded like Bono as Radiohead swerved toward U2’s Achtung Baby sound. With the as-yet unrecorded acoustic ballad, banana co., the singer called up primal-scream era John Lennon.
ripcord had the drive and effervescent hooks of ’70s era U.K. power-pop in the mode of Eddie & the Hot Rods or the Undertones. creep notwithstanding, the set peaked with the unrecorded inside my head. It was a ripping hard-rock number with an edgy punk-rock beat and a fusillade of guitars that was pure garage psychedelia. blow out, which ended the show, started jazzy and ended in a torrent of wailing guitars.
The musicians in Radiohead are still in the process of finding themselves. But they’re off to a good start, especially considering the power of the new material they tried.