MANSFIELD — You do not go to see Radiohead to get the warm fuzzies. Afterall, the pioneering British modern rockers build layer upon layer of chilly, fidgety, electrospiced guitar rock that swirls around like cool vapors, seeping into your brain and moving your booty.
But that did not stop the quintet from dispensing its own brand of good cheer amid the slippery rhythms and droning grooves Tuesday at the Comcast Center.
Sometimes aloof frontman Thom Yorke was downright chipper, smiling, joking, even coyly courting applause at one point, as he actively wriggled and writhed his way through the night. He offered sincere thanks early and often to the sold-out crowd during the two-hour, two-encore set, which traversed much of the band’s catalog, including a good chunk of its most recent release, “The King of Limbs.”
Since so much of Radiohead’s music relies on hitching grooves, the tunes can sometimes blur together as the band walks a razor-thin line between offering a soundtrack for captivation and a soundtrack to simply zoning out. But when it hit its frequent peaks doing the former, the show took on a nearly otherworldly hue.
During a dizzying “The National Anthem,” Yorke’s creamy murmur meshed perfectly with the skittering backbeats, and shimmering lighting enhanced the barrage of images of the band scattered across an array of video screens changing position over the stage.
Those screens portended dread as they descended before the mournful “Pyramid Song” and then added to the frantic desperation of the fever dream “Morning Mr. Magpie” as they were raised and dangled at odd angles, displaying wavering images. Pulsating red lights imbued “The Daily Mail” with menace and allure. “Lucky” was a glorious anthem of catharsis. “Identikit” seemed to expand and shrink in scope as the band dynamics surged and receded as one drummer held down the groove while the other tapped out an insistent Morse code on his cymbals.
The screens also helped fans see how deeply inside the music the musicians were. What might seem stoic at a distance was starkly shown up close to be the sweaty enthusiasm of a band working hard for itself and its fans.