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<p class="text-align-right">The Smile 12/4/2022 at The Eastern | Dylan Basden Photography</p>
The Smile 12/4/2022 at The Eastern | Dylan Basden Photography

Concert Review: The Smile at The Eastern

December 4th, 2022 | Atlanta, GA

The Smile sell out The Eastern on their debut North American tour as they take Atlanta by storm.

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The Smile 12/4/2022 at The Eastern | Dylan Basden Photography

The project of Radiohead's Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood with Sons of Kemet drummer Tom Skinner, The Smile seek to capitalize off of past successes with a fresh new sound. With the release of their debut album, A Light for Attracting Attention, earlier this year, The Smile found instant success from both critics and fans alike.

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Robert Stillman 12/4/2022 at The Eastern | Dylan Basden Photography

Instrumental jazz-fusion artist Robert Stillman opened the show. Beginning with a distorted buzz and deep breathes through his saxophone, Stillman interlaced elements of jazz, shoegaze, and ambient music in his tirade of looping sounds. His arrangement of distortion eventually broke out into a more filled out jazzier sound, adding an unexpected groove into the mix. Stillman's performance was stellar and certainly a welcomed surprise.

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The Smile 12/4/2022 at The Eastern | Dylan Basden Photography

The Smile meandered their way out onto the stage with an already established presence. While their first ever show in Atlanta, and only their second in the southeast as a whole, the crowd already knew the quality of show they were about to receive. Thom Yorke, and Radiohead as a whole, have an immediate draw. However, this show ended up defining itself. The Smile felt more independent than ever, like a fresh face on the block.

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The Smile 12/4/2022 at The Eastern | Dylan Basden Photography

A three song run of "The Same", "Thin Thing", and "The Opposite" kicked off the show with a fiery introduction. Starting off with heavy synthesizers, "The Same" brought a pounding bit of relief early into the set. A thumping could be felt in your chest, without the drum kit even being touched. "Thin Thing" saw a chaotic blend of instrumental interconnection that showcased the band's distorting prowess, its internal swell paying off with flashing lights and a cathartic climax. Then there was "The Opposite", a slicker, groovier track from the bunch. The trio highlighted the small sparkles and shimmers in their sound, which pierced out even more live than in recordings for an absolutely dazzling performance.

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The Smile 12/4/2022 at The Eastern | Dylan Basden Photography

The band would continue on, covering the entirety of their debut album and then some unreleased tracks. It should go without saying that this is a talented crop of musicians, but seeing truly is believing in this instance. Cycling through instruments like they were next in line for the throne, each member at some point would play something outside their expected realm, whether it be bass, synths, or even a harp. Robert Stillman, the opening act, also joined the band on stage at various times to build on this overwhelming talent behind the monitors. 

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The Smile 12/4/2022 at The Eastern | Dylan Basden Photography

Nineteen tracks filled out the night completely, with the show ending on one of Thom Yorke's solo works, "Feeling Pulled Apart by Horses". The band's full setlist is below.

          1. The Same
          2. Thin Thing
          3. The Opposite
          4. Speech Bubbles
          5. Free in the Knowledge
          6. A Hairdryer
          7. Waving a White Flag
          8. Colours Fly (ft. Robert Stillman)
          9. We Don't Know What Tomorrow Brings
          10. Bodies Laughing
          11. Bending Hectic
          12. Skrting On the Surface
          13. Pana-Vision (ft. Robert Stillman)
          14. The Smoke (ft. Robert Stillman)
          15. You Will Never Work in Television Again (ft. Robert Stillman)
          -
          16. Open the Floodgates
          17. Teleharmonic Phaser
          18. Read the Room
          19. Feeling Pulled Apart by Horses (Thom Yorke song)

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The Smile 12/4/2022 at The Eastern | Dylan Basden Photography

Two more stops in the south, a stint in Colorado, and a run up the west coast seal the deal on The Smile's first North American tour. With half of the shows already sold out, opportunities to see this show are dwindling. Robert Stillman is touring as support on all remaining dates.

          12/06 New Orleans, LA The Orpheum Theatre* (SOLD OUT)
          12/08 Dallas, TX The Factory in Deep Ellum* (SOLD OUT)
          12/10 Denver, CO Mission Ballroom* (SOLD OUT)
          12/11 Denver, CO Mission Ballroom*
          12/14 Portland, OR Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall* (SOLD OUT)
          12/16 Seattle, WA MaMu Theater*
          12/18 San Francisco, CA Bill Graham Civic Auditorium*
          12/21 Los Angelos, CA Shrine Auditorium* (SOLD OUT)
          12/22 Los Angelos, CA Shrine Auditorium*

          * with Robert Stillman

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The Smile 12/4/2022 at The Eastern | Dylan Basden Photography

The Smile is more than Thom Yorke and company's side project, The Smile has blossomed into something more than that, something completely unique and differentiated. While the connection to Radiohead will never be lost, and will always be a part of their appeal, the craftsmanship behind their shows and music will certainly be a driving force in the band's future. Going into this show, I was not made aware of all the intricacies of their music, but leaving I was fully enraptured by it.

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