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If I were really a writer (I just play one on TV), I would unleash thousands of words describing the extraordinary experience of hearing Radiohead songs in this stripped-down setting. All I could do was grin like an idiot (or Idioteque), and fight back tears when Thom, ac-companying himself on piano, launched into an impromptu rendition of Neil Young’s “After the Gold Rush.”

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Ivana Crashes a Radiohead Acoustic Show, Lectures the Format (as She Is Wont to Do)
So many incredible musical highlights last week in NYC that I barely thought to whine about the nonstop rain and cold weather! I arrived at Electric Lady Studios on Wednesday afternoon for the first of Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood’s two acoustic performances for radio winners to the welcoming sight of Y100’s Jim McGuinn chatting with Jon Cohen and Ben Lee. The Capitol posse (Ted Volk, Joe Rainey, Rob Gordon, Darren Eggleston, Mark DiDia and Steve Nice), sensing my excitement, ushered me through the crowd to where KCRW’s Nic Harcourt and Ariana Morgenstern were setting up their broadcast. I had every intention of standing in the back of the room, until Ariana pointed out the chair she had saved for me, in the front row, directly facing the empty chair where Thom Yorke would soon be seated. I couldn’t be rude to Ariana, so I “grudgingly” sat down. OK, I ran for the seat as though I was a finalist in a life-and-death game of Musical Chairs. As out-of-town contest winners from Atlanta, DC, Philly, Orlando and other PoMo markets filed in, along with familiar industry friends (Tara, Tim Schiavelli, Dan Fein, Howard P. etc.), some of these kids, upon realizing they’d be thisclose to their favorite band, could barely contain the emotion on their faces. If I were really a writer (I just play one on TV), I would unleash thousands of words describing the extraordinary experience of hearing Radiohead songs in this stripped-down setting. All I could do was grin like an idiot (or Idioteque), and fight back tears when Thom, accompanying himself on piano, launched into an impromptu rendition of Neil Young’s “After the Gold Rush” during his and Jonny’s second “set,” this time for K-Rock broadcast and in-studio winners. Yes, I managed to weasel my way into the second performance, still in the front row but out of range of any band member’s vision, happily sandwiched between Steve Nice and MTV’s Holly Schomann. After each set, the rest of the band joined Thom and Jonny for a Q&A with the kids in the audience. Nic Harcourt was the designated “host” for the first round of questions, while Matt Pinfield fielded the questions for K-Rock listeners. I was slightly tempted to ask them, “Do you remember that time, 11 years ago, when we had dinner at the African restaurant/art gallery in Los Feliz?” Except I knew they’d have absolutely no clue who I was, which was fine by me, since I was happy to be there as a fan, albeit an out-of-the-demo one…. The following night’s MTV2 $2Bill show at the Beacon was equally magical, reaffirming WHFS APD Bob Waugh’s contention that “Radiohead is the most important act in music today.” Although the crowd was definitely sprinkled with hipsters looking to be “seen,” the audience was absolutely focused, I mean fixated, on the band. I wish you could’ve been there—maybe then you’d understand why your demo is so passionate about Radiohead. This can’t be measured by playing 15 seconds of a song over the phone. Your inability to understand how passion and a sense of community among like-minded fans could lead to ratings may be the reason why your festival has only sold 2,500 tickets. How is it that the Bonnaroo Music Festival can sell out 80,000 tickets via the Internet, and you can’t fill an outdoor amphitheater? We had a 22-year-old, recent college grad staying with us this past weekend. She and all of her friends are meeting in Manchester, TN, this weekend for the festival. I couldn’t begin to find Manchester, TN, on a map (is there a Four Seasons Hotel?), yet every college kid seems to know about this three-day event. She said, “I hate jam bands, but I want to see James Brown, Ben Harper, Jack Johnson and, because you said so, Ben Kweller and The Polyphonic Spree.” It’s not necessarily about which bands are playing, it’s about a shared experience. This is “culture” in the making. Too many summer festivals suffer from what I call the “Johnny Bravo Syndrome”—picking dozens of bands based on availability (i.e. they “fit the suit”) rather than building a show that will be an EVENT. Your audience has many entertainment options this summer, and you’ve failed to make your show a must-see.  Sean Demery and Aaron Axelsen at Live105 definitely “get” it (which is why I’ll be at BFD this Friday), and we know KROQ shows are always special (remember when Coldplay played “Almost Acoustic Xmas”?). Maybe it’s time to rethink these festivals, or at least reinvent them…. SONG TO HEAR: Less Than Jake’s “The Science of Selling Yourself Short” (this is the perfect summer song!)…. PEOPLE TO WATCH: Lisa Cristiano, Chris Williams, Jacent Jackson, Libby Carstensen, Jaime Cooley, Lisa Worden, Amy Stevens, Chris Woltman, Jeff Sodikoff and Stu Bergen.

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ADELE ADELE ADELE
Adele; Adele Adele?
ADELE ADELE ADELE ADELE ADELE ADELE
A... dele?
ADELE ADELE
Adele Adele; Adele.
ADELE ADELE ADELE ADELE
(Adele.)
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