Ever want to upset a musical artist straying outside of the entity he or she is best known for? Call that endeavor a “side project.”
A dozen or so years ago, I was interviewing a member of a now-defunct, critically acclaimed and still influential Northwest-based indie trio and accidentally described an endeavor outside of the outfit from which she rose to national prominence as a “side project.” The end result was a snarky remark on her part and no small amount of backpedaling to save the interview from an abrupt end on my part.
While I’ll take the artists argument (as well as those of their most ardent fans) that they put their heart and soul into any endeavor regardless of its popularity or its similarities and/or differences from their most popular works, a side project is, to the masses, a side project.
It can be argued that Atoms for Peace falls into the “supergroup” category rather than side project, and their lineup – Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea, producer extraordinaire Nigel Goodrich and long-time go-to drummer Joey Waronker - supports that debate. Musically, though, Atoms’ first full-length effort, February’s “Amok,” has more in common, sonically, with the last several Yorke-fronted, Goodrich-produced Radiohead albums; it wouldn’t be a stretch, it must be said, for a listener to describe the nine songs that make up “Amok” as Radiohead leftovers.
Taken front to back, though, the rhythms and textures that make up “Amok” are more reminiscent – at least to this listener – to Krautrock kings Can. In the early '70s, Can released a trio of must-owns, 1971’s “Tago Mago,” 1972’s “Ege Bamyasi” and 1973’s “Future Days,” that explored moods and textures that have gone on to influence generations, including Yorke, who has gone on to record with his Can appreciation.
Atoms for Peace’s Oct. 2 Chicago show is only one of 11 shows scheduled stateside in the next three weeks and from there, it’s to Japan for a small handful of shows. Many, no doubt, hope Yorke, Goodrich and Flea will head back to the bands of their best renown once this tour has completed.
Atoms for Peace, 8 p.m. Oct. 2, UIC Pavilion, 525 S. Racine, Chicago. $67.45. FYI: (312) 413-5740, UICPAVILION.COM.
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For more information, contact the venues or ticket sales agencies listed below. Unless otherwise indicated, all shows are all-ages.
Bon Jovi, Oct. 23, United Center (UNITEDCENTER.COM)
Mazzy Star, Nov. 13, Vic Theatre (JAMUSA.COM)
Jay Z, Jan. 9, United Center (UNITEDCENTER.COM)
Cut Copy, Nov. 14, Riviera Theatre (18 and older, JAMUSA.COM)
Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Nov. 7, United Center (UNITEDCENTER.COM)
Gary Clark Jr., Nov. 19, Vic Theatre (JAMUSA.COM)
Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Dec. 31, Park West (18 and older, JAMUSA.COM)
John Legend, Nov. 10, Chicago Theatre (THECHICAGOTHEATRE.COM)
Kelly Hogan, Nov. 14, Old Town School of Folk (OLDTOWNSCHOOL.ORG)
Cyndi Lauper, Nov. 1, Chicago Theatre (THECHICAGOTHEATRE.COM)
The opinions expressed solely are those of the writer. Tim Shellberg can be reached at T.email@example.com.