There were whispers on the internet that Thom Yorke had performed The Smile song, ‘Free In The Knowledge’, at a recent solo show. Now, pro-shot footage has emerged of the frontman running through the number, confirming that the rumours were true.
The performance came back in October, during a time when Yorke played his only solo show of the Covid-19 era as part of a ‘Letters Live’ event at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The only other time we’ve heard ‘Free In The Knowledge’ performed is when Yorke’s supergroup, The Smile, posted a rehearsal of their set on their mysterious Instagram page.
Before jumping into the song, Yorke had a dig at Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s outlandish claims that artists should retrain for other jobs during the pandemic. Yorke said: “I’m a British musician, and I was told during the pandemic, along with all British musicians, that we should consider retraining. And then after, uh, when we actually finally left, they told us we didn’t really need to tour anymore anyway, did we? Around Europe.”
He continued: “So perhaps I’m one of a dying breed, who knows? I want to perform a song that I wrote with my new band, The Smile, during that period to all my fellow UK musicians. It’s called ‘Free In The Knowledge’.”
The Smile are perhaps the most exciting band out there at the moment. We don’t know much about them, save for the fact it is Yorke and Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood, as well as Tom Skinner, the drummer of Sons of Kemet. On paper, the lineup is a remarkable one.
The group surprised us all when they made their debut at Glastonbury’s live-streamed in May, and then returned on December 2nd for a short rehearsal on their Instagram. They are due to release an album, but a date is yet to be announced.
It’s been a good year for Radiohead. They released Kid A Mnesia in November, which was a joint collection of both Kid A and Amnesiac‘s 20th anniversaries. They also released the demo album Kid Amnesiae, which consisted of material that didn’t make it onto the two albums.
Watch Yorke play ‘Free In The Knowledge’ below.