Radiohead at the Santa Barbara Bowl

by Clayton Webster

At Flaunt we can find ourselves going weeks without leaving the city – between our busy schedules and the panoply of possibilities available to us in our beloved hometown on any given weekend, it can be easy to stay in our capacious nest. But then it's not every weekend that Radiohead comes within spitting distance, and finding the intimacy of the Santa Barbara bowl and cool sea-blown breezes more conducive to Radioheadian release than the heat and crowds of Coachella (But who are we kidding? We'll be there. Presented with two delicious options we always prefer to say, "Both") we gladly made a Flaunt jaunt up the lovely California coast.

As we sashayed our way into the pit, Thom and crew set the sun with showstopper ‘Desert Island Disk’ from their latest album A Moon Shaped Pool. The collective sigh from the crowd made it clear that Radiohead remains a mystically pervasive musical force. For decades, songs like ‘Pyramid Song’ and ‘Weird Fishes’ always got to me – emotional, comforting, transcendent. To step into the crowd at the Santa Barbara Bowl was to walk into a barrage of generational memories.

The show was as varied and diverse as their lengthy career, moving through the moods of their albums and mirroring our own journey as we slipped around different vantage points, dancing here, swaying there. Each song was accompanied by its own Jean Cocteau-esque narrative from neon lightning storms to celestial circular grids. Thoughtfully placed cameras displayed the intricacies of their electronic showmanship. A highlight was the almost voyeuristic connection with Yorke’s eye during ‘You and Whose Army.’ After getting lost in the hyperloop of songs and settings we found our spot perched in front of Ed O’Brien’s guitar with a clear shot of Yorke’s shamanistic stance. Smiles were flying off the stage alongside the lights and telestic voices hanging in the night. Everything was in its right place.

Photography by Iris Alonzo
Written by Margot Jacobs