Last month my musical friends and I did a full live album cover of Radiohead’s Kid A, continuing a series of live album covers that has included Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, Arcade Fire’s Funeral, Flaming Lips’ Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, and OK Computer. But we are not a cover or tribute band: Each show was put together in roughly four weeks, and every performance was 100% free of charge. And, with the exception of OK Computer, we’ve never performed any album twice.
Which is why we are so thrilled to have the night documented. Our comrades at Magic Spoon Productions and Miranda Studios collaborated to produce the definitive film experience of the performance. Everyone did an amazing job that night; I’m glad to have such talented friends. Check out more videos by Magic Spoon and Miranda Studios, including videos from some of our previous live album covers (linked above).
Two weeks ago, Chris Maddin, Chris Guerra, Leonard Rader, Matt Thomas, Jaime Rader, and myself performed Radiohead’s Kid A in its entirety for a packed house of more than 250 Radiohead fans at the Broadway 5050 in San Antonio, Texas. Just like last year’s full live album cover shows (which included Arcade Fire’s Funeral and Radiohead’s OK Computer), this was a 100% free show, put on to salute one of our all-time favorite albums. We’re not a cover band, either — we deconstruct and learn an album for a few weeks, perform it, and then we move on to another project. (The only exception was performing OK Computer again for my favorite local radio station, KRTU 91.7 Indie Overnight).
Stephen Castro of local video production house Miranda Studios was front-row and recorded the whole event, and it really captures what it was like to be inside the room with us. Fun fact: YouTube contacted Stephen to take these videos down, citing copyright infringement — but we only sampled a few bits and pieces of the album. So apparently our live version was good enough to fool YouTube’s lawyers. I can’t think of a higher compliment.
Below is all six parts of Kid A live, for your viewing and listening pleasure. Once again, a huge thanks to my fellow musicians, Miranda Studios, the Broadway 5050, and everyone who packed it like sardines in a crushed tin box. Most of all, huge thanks to Radiohead for being the best band in the world.
“Everything in its Right Place” and “Kid A”:
“The National Anthem” and “How to Disappear Completely”:
“Treefingers” (audio only):
“Optimistic” and “In Limbo”:
“Idioteque” and “Morning Bell”:
“Motion Picture Soundtrack” and special encore “15 Step”:
The “Kid A” band:
Chris Maddin (vocals, guitar)
Chuck Kerr (drums, drum samples, iPad 2)
Chris Guerra (Fender Rhodes, synths)
Leonard Rader (guitar, vocals, synths, loops)
Matt Thomas (bass)
Jaime Rader (samples, loops, synths, guitar)
Last Wednesday, me and a group of musician friends performed Radiohead’s classic 2000 album, Kid A, live in its entirety at the Broadway 5050, to kick off our second season of live album covers. (You can read more about our 2010 season — which included Radiohead’s OK Computer, Arcade Fire’s Funeral, and Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot among others — by searching the “album covers series” tag on my site.) Videographer Stephen Castro of Miranda Studios was filming from the “front row” and has released the first four songs of the set: “Everything in its Right Place,” “Kid A,” “The National Anthem.” and “How to Disappear Completely.” The Kid A band consisted of Chris Maddin (vocals), Chris Guerra (Rhodes and keyboards), Leonard Rader (background vocals, guitar, samples and effects), Matt Thomas (bass), Jaime Rader (samples, loops, guitar), and myself on acoustic/electronic drums and an iPad. “The National Anthem” also featured Ryan Teter (trombone), Steve Mohacey (tenor sax), and Jacinto Lefebre (trumpet). Meg Lobasso played cello on “How to Disappear.” Everyone did an amazing job bringing this album to life, I will post more videos as they pop up. Cheers!
Last year, Chris Maddin, myself, and a group of occasionally rotating local musicians embarked on a project to do a live cover of an entire album, top to bottom, as close to the source material as we could get. We also gave ourselves under a month to learn everything. It was a pretty daunting task, but I definitely enjoyed it. Last year we covered Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, Arcade Fire’s Funeral, Flaming Lips’ Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, and we ended the series with Radiohead’s OK Computer. We needed a little break before diving in to another album, but we’re picking up where we left off with OK Computer and will perform Kid A next. We hinted at this after last year’s OKC show by doing “Idioteque” as an encore. Enjoy, and check back here after August 10 when we perform the other nine tracks.
One or two Wednesdays ago, I was taking a break from my Broadway 5050 gig with Chris Maddin (where we play covers and originals as the Tiago Splitters) and sat down with members of my solo project, Bad Breaks. BB is now made up of members of my other two bands, Marcus Rubio and the GCOP and We Leave at Midnight, and I joked about how all the various band-member overlapping/collaborating would make a great Venn diagram. So in the spirit of procrastination and mental/physical exhaustion (it was a good birthday week), here’s what I came up with … only I soon discovered I couldn’t just limit it to my own personal projects and included as many other bands and side projects as I could think of. If any two groups share at least one member (to my knowledge), they made the chart. (If I left anybody out, I apologize!) In addition to playing with the color-coded bands mentioned above, I also am the co-founder of the Live Album Cover Project(again, with Maddin, aka Film Strips) and recently started playing drums with The Angelheaded Hipsters, led by Gordon Raphael (producer of the first two — and best — Strokes albums and first Regina Spektor LP). It’s worth noting that members of the Gospel Choir of Pillows are by far the most prolific, contributing to seven different bands in one way or another. What does this mean? I don’t know, really. OK, back to work …
DISCLAIMER: I freakin’ love Radiohead. Ever since I heard OK Computer (during the peak of my teenage British rock phase), I finally found a band that was worth obsessing over as much as some of my favorite jazz artists. I have almost all their releases (studio and live), b-sides, c-sides and other rarities. I’ve seen them three times (twice in Houston and once in Chicago). Thom Yorke’s wise, heavy-lidded visage graces both of my iMac desktops (at work, and at home). When I was an active jazz drummer, I did an arrangement of “Knives Out” (with a nod to Brad Mehldau, of course). Last year, I covered OK Computer in its entirety with Chris Maddin (of local SA indie band Blowing Trees) and other musician friends, finally putting all that teenage obsessing to good use (there were like 250+ people packed in there, and it was the most fun, like, ever).
I was lucky to review their last “surprise” album, 2007′s In Rainbows, and as soon as I saw the announcement for The King of Limbs I jumped on it (literally emailing my pitch during the drive to the office). Downloading The King of Limbs is the closest I’ve felt to unwrapping Christmas presents as a kid. (Calculating the total file size = lifting a present to see how heavy it is.) I was initially disappointed to find only 8 tracks in the unzipped folder (Wait, is there another folder? Did the whole thing download? … Eight tracks after four years?! That’s … two tracks a year!), but that quickly evaporated. I was listening to new Radiohead.
For the full King of Limbs review, click here. I also reviewed the new Bright Eyes album, The People’s Key. Check it out here. And, just for fun, here’s the video for “Lotus Flower,” the first single from King of Limbs. Get it, Thom!