Tag Archives: Radiohead

Radiohead fearlessly blazes their own trail… Radiohead live in Dallas March 5, 2012

Radiohead is not only the future of Rock, but maybe even the future of music.  I used to tell people that had never head Radiohead that they were the modern Pink Floyd.  The real truth is Radiohead is not like anyone else that has ever been.  This band is so creative and smart there is no telling where they can take music in the future.  Currently the lead guitar player Jonny Greenwood is collaborating  with the avantgarde composer Krzysztof Penderecki.  They did the movie soundtracks to “There Will Be Blood” and “Norwegian Wood”.  They just released a CD on the Nonesuch  label.  The CD is a compilation of works by both musicians.  It was just released on March 13, 2012.  I haven’t heard it yet, but I assure you I will purchase it as soon as possible.  Needless to say this is not the average rock band.  Radiohead is heavily influenced by contemporary “Classical” (for lack of a better word!) composers.  Another cool thing about this band is that they regularly employ some of the very first synthesizers ever invented.  First is the Etherwave Theremin Kit:

This Synthesizer was invented in 1928 by a Russian Scientist named Theremin. It was first used in Rock-n-Roll by Randy California of Spirit, and Randy introduced it to Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, who got a lot of mileage out of it during live performances with Led Zeppelin.

The other synthesizer is called the ondes Martenot.   This synthesizer was invented in France in 1928.  Radiohead owns two ondes Martenots!  Here are a couple of pictures of the Martenot.  They are very difficult to play and even harder to master.

So on to the show.  My brother Joe went with me.  He is a highly trained and excellent musician. (If I may be so bold as to brag on my brother…).

I have been a fan of this band for years and have always wanted to see them so needless to say I was very psyched for this show.  The opening act was a band called Other Lives.  This band was a real pleasure to see live.  They sounded like a cross between old Peter Gabriel era Genesis, Kate Bush, and with a little Arcade Fire mixed in.  Several of the musicians in the band played different instruments during their 30 minute set.  At various times they had a cello, violin, trumpet, and many different kinds of percussion instruments playing.  The poor bastards were jammed together in front of the giant pile of equipment for Radiohead.  They could hardly move around but they really sounded great!  Then to my surprise, when the lead singer introduced the band, he said they were from Stillwater, Oklahoma!   I would never have guess that.  They sounded English!  Here is a photo gallery of Other Lives on stage at American Airlines Center, in Dallas, Texas.

 

 

 

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After a brief intermission the main event began. Here’s a taste of what it was like.

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They opened their two hour 24 song set with Bloom from their latest CD called King of Limbs and ended their set with Paranoid Android from their CD called OK Computer.  From the very first song it was apparent I was in for a very special night.  First of all their set included the live debut of two new songs.  The first one came about half-way through their initial setIt was called The Amazing Sound of Orgy.  The second new song was played during the second encore. (By the way, I’m told that two encore sets from Radiohead is extremely unusual too!)  That song was called Skirting on the Surface.  Both songs were excellent and bode well for the next Radiohead CD.  They also played two other new songs that they have played other places on this tour:  Identikit and Staircase.  They played almost everything I wanted to hear.  Of course they could play all night and I’d still think of a song I wished they had played.  The light show was amazing.  They had 12 giant flat screened televisions that were hung suspended above the stage.  These screens could move up and down and rotate, creating mind boggling effects.  Behind the band was an extremely sophisticated wall of lights that really blew me away.  Here is a photo gallery of pictures I took at the show with my iPhone:

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The most interesting thing about the light show, however, was what was not there.  There was not one single spotlight used during the entire show. In all of my life of going to rock concerts (my first show was in 1969) I have never seen a band perform without using spotlights.  The message is obvious and a real insight into the mindset of Radiohead.  Radiohead is a BAND!  The sum is greater than the parts. This band has no Star.  They are truly an ensemble performing their joint compositions.  Really, that is what I love about them.  They are composers not song writers.  They are practicing their art on the highest level.  They could care less if anyone likes it.  They write their music because they have too.  Because their art always comes before their popularity it was very gratifying to see a sold out hero worshiping crowd at the AAC that night.  The future’s so bright I gotta wear shades!

Here’s the Set List:

  1. Bloom
     
  2. Little By Little
     
  3. Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
     
  4. Morning Mr. Magpie
     
  5. The Gloaming
     
  6. The Daily Mail
     
  7. Pyramid Song
     
  8. The Amazing Sounds of Orgy
    (Live debut)
  9. Karma Police
     
  10. 15 Step
     
  11. Staircase
     
  12. Identikit
     
  13. Lotus Flower
     
  14. There There
     
  15. Feral
     
  16. Idioteque
     
  17. Encore:
  18. Separator
     
  19. Climbing Up The Walls
     
  20. Bodysnatchers
     
  21. Everything In It’s Right Place
    (w/True Love Waits intro)
  22. Encore 2:
  23. Give Up The Ghost
     
  24. Skirting On The Surface
    (Full band live debut)
  25. Reckoner
     
  26. Paranoid Android

 

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Posted in Live Performance Reviews, Rock Music | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Things Happen For A Reason…

Do you believe in fate or destiny? I do. I met an interesting musician on a plane recently and I have to share this with you.

It was very early in the morning. I get on the plane and take my seat. As is my custom when I travel, I plan to read and listen to music. The passenger in the next seat is a young Hispanic man. He also has a book and an iPod ready to go. He looked tired so I was thinking that he wouldn’t have to read very long before he fell asleep.

I was reading a book called “The Ninth, Beethoven and the World in 1824” by Harvey Sachs. (I plan to blog about this book very soon.) The passenger next to me asked me, “Excuse me, but I see from the title of that book that you are interested in music. Are you by chance a musician? Well, this is a question I love and hate to answer. In my core being I am and always will be a highly trained dedicated musician, but my gig that pays the bills is very different. So I said what I usually say: ” Well, yes and no. My educational background is that of a musician, but I don’t make my living that way.”

My fellow passenger introduced himself as Daniel Ochoa Valez. He said he was traveling from Mexico City to Rochester New York. I asked if he was a musician. He said he was studying composition. He was currently studying in Mexico City but he had also studied in Germany, and The Netherlands. “Why are you traveling to Rochester?” I asked.

“A friend of mine has helped me obtain a commission.” said Daniel. Daniel had traveled on a bus from Mexico City to Laredo, Texas, cleared customs, got on a second bus to San Antonio, got on a train to Dallas and was now sitting in the seat next to me. He was extremely tired. But he was on an important journey that would ultimately result in a new piece of music for the planet.

“Wow!” , I said. ” Tell me more about this.”

Daniel has a friend that is the principle Organist for a Church in Rochester. He got Daniel a commission to write a piece for the Church Organ. The Organ is a replica of a Baroque organ in Europe. In preparation for the process of writing the piece, Daniel was flying to Rochester to see the Organ, learn about it’s capabilities, and discuss the composition with the Organist that would perform the debut. He said his friend had figured out ways for the Organ to play quarter tones. Quarter tones are notes between notes. Our western culture does not traditionally contain quarter tones. Other cultures like China, and India regularly use quarter tones in their music. Charles Ives was one of the first American composers to experiment with quarter tones and many modern day composers may employ them.

I found this very fascinating. I asked Daniel what modern day composers he liked. Daniel listed Olivier Messiaen, John Cage, Ligeti, Berio , and George Crumb. This made him even more interesting to me. I said, “You must like Prepared Piano.” Daniel said that he not only enjoyed it, he had written prepared piano pieces. (Prepared Piano means inserting things into the piano to change it’s sound or playing the piano with foreign objects.” It turns a piano into a virtual synthesiser.)

He told me about his You-Tube site. I told him about my blog. We exchanged contact information and agreed to stay in touch.

Over the weekend I looked at his videos and really enjoyed his music. I e-mailed him and told him I was going to post him on my blog.

I was reading the other day that Thom Yorke (Lead Singer of Radiohead) had a conversation with a recording studio A & R man. The A & R guy asked where all the talented musicians were. Thom  yelled at him that they were everywhere but record companies are too afraid to take chances on new music! I agree with Thom Yorke, there is talent everywhere. Not only are record companies afraid of new music, so are most listeners. This is a real shame since so much great music is being written but not getting heard.

There is this idea of the “Socially Aware Non-Attenders”. People that understand modern Achitecture and Art but disconnect and can’t seem to support the equivalant when it comes to music.

This music will challenge you. You must listen to this music with an open mind and heart. You should listen to each piece a few times. Absorb it. Drink it in.

My favorite is Nebula. This compostion was inspired by a poem by Hermann Hesse the Nobel Prize winning author. The poem is about how we can be so disconnected from the people around us that we wander like trees in a fog bank. We can not see or move toward another tree; and yet, there isn’t any fog in real life. Enjoy the music of Daniel Orhoa Valdez.

Nebula by Daniel Ochoa Valdez

This string quartet is in three movements. Introduction-Intermezzo- and Finale.

Caribous by Danel Ochoa Valdez

An experimental piece for prepared and amplified piano. Premiere at the University of Siegen, Summer Semester 2009’s Arrangement Concert, organized by Prof. Martin Herchenröder. Music composed and performed by Daniel Ochoa. Winner of the Second Prize at the Carl’s Award composition competition at the Ahtelas New Music Festival 2010
Night Sky by Daniel Ochoa Valdez

If you would like to hear more of his work you can serch You-Tube for D8aV and it will connect to his sight. I hope you enjoyed his music as much as I did. I look forward to hearing the composition for organ.

Daniel and I were not like the trees in the poem by Hesse. We took the time to make a connection. I for one, am glad I did not stay in my fog bank. Good luck Daniel and keep exploring new horizons!

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