Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien wakes the spirits at Hollywood Forever

Ed O'Brien EOB

In only their fourth official show touring as EOB, Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien and company took the stage at the Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever Cemetery for a set that attendees young and old would greatly appreciate. Nearly a month ago, and over 10 years of the fans begging for it, O’Brien announced a solo album under the moniker EOB. The album, Earth, is set to release on April 17th, and after witnessing the full album in person, it’s something we should all be setting our sights on. As for the show’s venue, if you’ve never witnessed a set at the Masonic Lodge before, know that it will quickly become one of your favorite LA venues. The atmosphere, intimacy, and not to mention free parking are some of its selling points that are extremely difficult to beat. 

Jumping straight into the set, the towering 6’ 5” Ed O’Brien took to the stage with his band in tow and hopped straight into one of the two singles they’ve released so far, Shangri-La. The upbeat, almost U2-esque pop track translated beautifully in a live setting and immediately had the crowd grooving back and forth. The band quickly jumped into two more tracks from Earth, titled Banksters and Love Story, both equally lush in sound and can only imagine they’ll sound even better professionally recorded.

The first break in the set had O’Brien graciously thanking the crowd for attending. He delivered some kind words about how the band came about, how nervous they were, and honestly hoped they sounded good enough for us considering they’d only been practicing together for the past four weeks. As expected, the sea of Ed die-hards applauded and delivered the amount of love that EOB was looking for.

Diving right back into the madness, the band geared up for a lovely cover of Layo & Bushwackal’s Love Story, a soft and subtle way to bring down the energy for the time being. Fortunately that didn’t last too long, because they brought it right back up with two back to back ten minute droney and psych-filled jams called Long Time Coming and Deep Days. The band finally began to find their groove and appeared to be as comfortable as ever on stage. Needless to say, it wasn’t just the Radiohead diehards that were having a great time. 

The time had finally come though as Ed announced he would be playing the nine minute lead single off Earth, titled Brasil. What started out featuring just O’Brien on his signature acoustic guitar and humble voice, slowly transformed into a hybrid of electronic trance that for a moment transformed The Masonic Lodge into a nightclub. If they had only just played an hour version of this immense track, I feel the crowd wouldn’t have complained even a little bit. What a fantastic song that showed not only O’Brien’s capability as a composer, but what a talented group can seriously accomplish.

After that thriller, EOB brought the tone down once again and took a break while O’Brien sadly explained to us the recent passing of his 103 year old grandmother, who he’d be dedicating the next song too. The set finished up with the closing tracks of the soon to be released album and energy was at an all time high once the band finished up. No encore was played, but honestly, we didn’t need one with how impressed we collectively were.

Overall, it must be an interesting feeling for Ed O’Brien, going from playing the world’s largest venues as guitarist for Radiohead, to playing 500 person capacity clubs with the same fans who have undoubtedly been at those large shows. You could truly see the sparkle in O’Brien’s eyes just how thankful he was that we’d support his individual endeavours. The Radiohead fanbase is so strong and united that it’s not overly surprising, however, that doesn’t mean you can take it for granted.

Words by Austin Sher
Photos by Sarah Woods