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A history of Radiohead in Tampa, Part I: The 'Pablo Honey' years




(In celebration of Radiohead's concert Feb. 29 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, we're revisiting some of the band's most memorable Tampa Bay moments over the past 20 years. Today, we present Julie Richardson's St. Pete Times review of Radiohead's concert at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg on Sept. 22, 1993 -- the Pablo Honey era -- opening for Belly.)

Hordes of young people in striped T-shirts and Doc Martens chose alternative music over hearing about a national health plan Wednesday night, as Radiohead and Belly performed to about 600 fans at Jannus Landing.

The two bands, which offset their somber lyrics with energetic stage presence, are on a six-week tour that takes them tonight to Orlando's Visage club (6341 Orange Blossom Trail) at 7 p.m.

Radiohead, a British band hailing from Oxford, performed songs from its first release, Pablo Honey. The group opened its set with the infectious You and established a strong guitar base, as lead singer Thom Yorke maintained powerful, yet howling vocals. His acoustic guitar fronted a three-guitar attack heavy on distortion and treble. The result was a powerful, layered sound.

The crowd was relatively calm except for a few front-row fans, who attempted stage-diving antics. Still, you could say the music was "uplifting" as fans raised enthu- siastic spectators off the ground and passed them around in a human wave.

By the time Belly came on, the crowd (mostly mid-teens to early 30s) was well warmed-up. But spectators had to change gears for the whimsical style of lead singer Tanya Donnelly, formerly of Throwing Muses and the Breeders. Donnelly graced the stage with the swaying motion of a child as she played lead guitar. Cheerfully dressed in white ruffled bloomers, she charmed the audience with her winsome smile. Belly's strength, unlike Radiohead, lay in its driving rhythm.

Belly performed its hit Feed the Tree midway through the show, followed by a rousing Hendrix cover of Are You Experienced.

Just as Radiohead managed a cacophonous harmony, Belly balanced innocence, a catchy sound and stream-of-consciousness lyrics ranging from old age to child abuse. The group set the mood before the show with the sweet, melodic aria Mimi's Waltz from La Boheme and concluded with a haunting track from A Clockwork Orange when the lights came on.

-- Julie Richardson, St. Petersburg Times

[Last modified: Tuesday, February 21, 2012 11:00am]


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