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Those needing a Radiohead-grade anxiety fix will love this performance from Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood’s The Smile

The Smile put in an appearance at Barcelona’s Primavera festival last month (June 10) and new project of Radiohead's Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood recently shared footage of their haunting performance of The Same.

Here Greenwood takes on piano duties while Yorke puts his Guild Starfire II bass guitar to good use. The semi-hollow bass is typically called upon by Yorke for playing The Same, Skirting The Surface and Opposites

Radiohead sleuths The King Of Gear (opens in new tab) cite it as being most likely a late-60s Starfire II, owing to the dual-pickup configuration, which debuted in 1967, and the fact it uses Hagstrom Bi-Sonic pickups (instead of the Guild-made humbuckers that were introduced in the early ’70s). 

This variant was favored by both Jefferson Airplane’s Jack Cassady and The Grateful Dead’s Phil Lesh around the close of the decade, so it has good form as tool for heady jams – and if we’ve learned one thing, it’s that The Smile enjoy heady jams.

Yorke frequently plays bass during The Smile’s performances and while his fretwork on The Same is fairly restrained, he does a surprisingly good line in Flea-like fingerstyle work. As we’ve previously noted, this is perhaps thanks to his time studying the RHCP man’s technique during their Atoms For Peace project.

That said, it’s The Smile’s drummer Tom Skinner (also of UK jazz heroes Sons Of Kemet) who arguably gets the best job on The Same – manipulating some modular synth gear into scything, echo-ing textures across the bed laid down by his bandmates. 

Yorke still finds time during the set to exercise his electric guitar abilities, however – as the frontman demonstrated when he employed Ed O’Brien’s signature Sustainer Strat debuting The Smile’s latest song, Bodies Laughing, at their Berlin show in late-May.

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Matt Parker
Matt Parker

Matt is a freelance journalist who has spent the last decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk (opens in new tab), which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.