The Smile Laval Concert Review and Photos

3 minute read

The last time we saw The Smile was at the MTELUS in Montreal back in November of last year. Fast forward 8 months, and the band had returned, this time playing the much larger Place Bell in Laval.

Just as they did the last time they were in town, The Smile mainly played tracks off of their album A Light for Attracting Attention. However, they did throw in a selection of fresh, unreleased material, which may or may not be on their followup album. The band confirmed back in March that they have been recording new music.

As Thom Yorke took to the stage with a beaming smile, he was joined by his bandmates, Jonny Greenwood and Tom Skinner. The night kicked off with Pana-Vision, setting the tone for a thrilling performance. Speech Bubbles came next, featuring Jonny strumming a harp as the song wound down (is there anything that they can’t play?)

Thom then ditched the guitar and switched it out for a bass, and that's when Jonny's guitar decided that that would be the perfect time not to cooperate. Thom jokingly suggested that maybe we should all grab a cup of tea while we wait. Instead of tea, we were all treated to a little drum and bass freestyle thanks to Tom and Thom. Once the issues were resolved, it was time for The Opposite.

A Hairdryer came next, featuring Jonny playing the guitar with a bow, followed by Waving a White Flag. There wasn’t much chit-chat between songs aside from the occasional "Merci," but hey, we were there for the music. Next up was a newer song, Under Our Pillows, followed by We Don’t Know What Tomorrow Brings.

It was time for another new song, Colours Fly, which featured opening act Robert Stillman on saxophone. Thin Thing was next, followed by Teleharmonic, with Robert joining them once again.

Skrting on the Surface and The Same were next, followed by Read The Room. Throughout the night, The Smile's members showed off their versatility, effortlessly switching between various instruments, including bass, guitar, piano, and keyboards.

The catchy bass intro of The Smoke had the crowd dancing a little bit (including Thom), and to close out their main set, they played, You Will Never Work in Television Again.

The crowd wasn't ready to call it a night, so they remained standing and cheering until the band made their way back to the stage. Back behind the keys, it was time for Open The Floodgates. Stillman joined the band once again for People on Balconies. Thanking Stillman as he left the stage, Thom introduced the next song as the band's latest single, Bending Hectic.

Feeling Pulled Apart By Horses, one of Thom's solo songs, closed out the night at Place Bell. After seeing them play the more intimate MTELUS and Place Bell, I’m still not sure which performance takes the cake. Obviously, the intimacy of the first show was great, but I felt the sound and visuals were better this go-around (although the strobing lights were a bit too much at times).

One downside was that it was pretty much the same setlist as the last show; however, it’s understandable considering they've only released one album so far. Here's to looking forward to their next tour, which will hopefully follow the release of their followup to A Light for Attracting Attention.

Enjoy the rest of the photos from the show, and be sure to check out on Instagram while you’re at it.