Gear Blog: Radiohead

photo by Kevin Cochran

The Gear Blog is a behind-the-scenes look at the instruments and equipment that graces the Austin City Limits’ stage. Our Audio Engineer Kevin Cochran goes in-depth to give our gearheads some insight.

The producers of ACL are always refining and building a wish list of artists they hope to nab to appear on the show. They keep an eye on upcoming album releases and touring schedules between early March through late November, our shooting window, so that we can catch a performer in top form when they hit Texas. Some artists are obvious choices and others are favorites of a particular producer who must lobby (sometimes for years) to prevail upon the powers that be to book a taping.

Some acts clamor to play Austin City Limits. But there are others that seem like a long shot. When I heard that the “ask” for Radiohead had been made, I had my doubts. The five piece from Abingdon, Oxfordshire guards their image fiercely and hold celebrity and exposure at arms length. Their American broadcast appearances have either been late night talk shows or awards ceremonies, giving only a glancing view of their live proficiency. So when I heard that the band had been booked, I was excited but surprised. But then again, a band like Radiohead thrives on surprise.

Once again, Jim Warren plopped his Venue in front of house, this time bringing along Sherif El-Barbari to help tune the room with Lake processing. Sherif was extremely thorough and the end result is what you would expect one of the world’s largest bands to sound like.

photo by Kevin Cochran

 

photo by Kevin Cochran

 

photo by Kevin Cochran

 

photo by Kevin Cochran

Radiohead’s monitors were d&b audiotechnik processed by d&b D12s. Monitor mixes ran through another Digidesign Venue.

photo by Kevin Cochran

 

photo by Kevin Cochran

What impressed me the most about Radiohead was that they agreed to do a full camera rehearsal. As a matter of course, we ask artists to run through their entire show so that our director Gary Menotti can watch how the band arranges and plays their material live. Many times, bands at Radiohead’s level forgo camera rehearsal, unless there are certain songs that deviate from the arrangement of their recordings. The band thought they could use a run through themselves and rehearsed every song on the set list. It’s extra work but it helps the cameramen immensely. The quality that ACL is known for is, in great part, because cameramen know what musician to focus on in every part of every song and aren’t reacting to things that have already happened like you see in some other shows.

photo by Kevin Cochran

Jonny Greenwood’s pedal boards.

photo by Kevin Cochran

Thom Yorke’s pedal boards and DIs.

photo by Kevin Cochran

 

photo by Kevin Cochran

Ed O’Brien’s pedal boards.

photo by Kevin Cochran

Settings on keyboards are called patches. This comes from the days when sounds had to be physically patched by cables from oscillator to another. Jonny’s key world is a good example of how things used to be done.

photo by Kevin Cochran

An upright piano with a Dave Smith Instruments Tetra attached to it. Or it could be synth keys in an upright chassis – I’m not sure.

photo by Kevin Cochran

Drummer Phil Selway and bassist Colin Greenwood really shine on King of Limbs. The intricate rhythms on the album would be hard replicate live so Clive Deamer was brought along to help out on drums. This is a repeat appearance for Clive. He previously taped with Robert Plant in Season 28. Mr. Plant happened to be on hand to watch the taping live.

Both drummers used Gretsch drum kits that night. Clive’s is on the left. Colin Greenwood’s Ampeg rig is in the back with a couple of synths.

photo by Kevin Cochran

Phil’s on the right. Off to the side is Ed O’Brien’s Fender Vibroking amp and Thom Yorke’s Vox AC30.

photo by Kevin Cochran

Thom Yorke’s guitar world.

photo by Kevin Cochran

photo by Kevin Cochran

Ed O’Brien’s guitar world.

photo by Kevin Cochran

 

photo by Kevin Cochran

O’Brien relied heavily on the new Johnny Marr Fender Jaguar that night. This is the cleanest, clearest guitar I have ever heard in my life and gave me a new respect for Jaguars.

photo by Kevin Cochran

Not pictured are Jonny Greenwood’s Telecaster Plus’ Version 1 which he has been using since the early ’90’s.

In researching this post, I stumbled upon this very cool website: King Of Gear. This site will give you more detail about the toys and tools of Radiohead than I ever could.

For recording and post production, Radiohead brought their longtime producer, Nigel Godrich with them to record and mix in post. He was very friendly.

Radiohead is very careful about their image and public exposure. When they accepted our invitation, not only was it a feather in our cap that we would be airing one of the biggest and most enigmatic bands in the world, but an honor that a band so guarded felt safe to let us show America what they do for an hour.

Austin: Special post-ACL Fest after-after show broadcasts

Watch Radiohead and Bon Iver in the middle of the night

Calling all Austinites! We know that this weekend is already laden with music, what with the Austin City Limits Music Festival kicking off Friday and the various after shows that will follow after the park closes. But we want to keep you up even later! Musical goodies will be happening on your TV screen late into Friday and Saturday nights. That’s right, this weekend we’ll be airing our latest additions to Season 38 multiple times from Friday to Sunday. It’s like we’re having our own kind of festival, only it’s in your living room, late at night, and there will be no annoying foot traffic! You’ll have six chances to catch Bon Iver’s and Radiohead’s debut performances on KLRU. Check it out!

Friday, Oct 12th:
10PM – Radiohead

Saturday, Oct 13th:
2AM – Radiohead
4AM – Radiohead
7PM – Bon Iver

Sunday, Oct 14th:
1AM – Bon Iver
3AM – Bon Iver

Radiohead kicks off Austin City Limits’ new season this weekend!

photo by Scott Newton

The day after we recorded Radiohead  back in March, our reaction was, “Radiohead taped Austin City Limits last night. It almost feels like that’s all we need to say.” Even now, months later with the Season 38 premiere upon on us, we still feel the same sense of met anticipation. It was a happening that fans and we had personally been waiting for and it finally came to fruition. A band like Radiohead, (well, let’s be honest – there really isn’t a band out there like Radiohead) that can constantly challenge themselves and evolve to change their sound to continue to make beautiful and inspiring music is a rare gift. We are incredibly grateful to open up our 38th season with such progressive rock icons and modern day musical legends.

Radiohead opened their set with “Bloom,” the busy and fitting song for the occasion that opens their 2011 self-released album The King of Limbs. From there the group goes to the piano-heavy and melodic “Daily Mail,” another new song from last year. The rest of the set features a collective mix of tracks from TKOL, Hail to the Thief, Kid A, OK Computer, and new singles. One highlight of the night is when they played a forgotten B-side, “The Amazing Sounds of Orgy.” Of course the essence of the night was captured at the very end when the band played the big hits and crowd favorites, “Idioteque” and “Paranoid Android.”

For those that missed seeing the taping live, this is your opportunity to see what many described as being a passionate and “life-changing” performance. You can truly feel the energy of the band and the audience in this episode, and Thom Yorke’s dancing may even inspire you to flail around in your living room. (Seriously, if you don’t dance during “Idioteque” then there may be something wrong with your well-being.)

Don’t miss the premiere of Season 38 this weekend featuring Radiohead! Check your local listings for times and stations here. Also, don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook, if we get to 90,000 likes (we’re really close!) we’ll post an interview with Ed O’Brien and Thom Yorke. You can also follow us on Twitter and Tumblr for updates about tapings. Tune in next week for Bon Iver!

Movies in the Park features Austin City Limits

photo by Scott Newton

We are so excited about our upcoming broadcast season on PBS that we want to preview it for our Austin fans first! Join us on September 6 at 8:30 pm at Republic Square Park when we join forces with the Alamo Drafthouse and Austin Parks Foundation and go behind the scenes of some of our most exciting tapings to date – Bon Iver, Bonnie Raitt, the Shins and more. Plus we will screen the season premiere featuring Radiohead.  And if this sneak peek isn’t enough – it’s free! Grab your friends and a blanket and join us at Republic Square Park to experience ACL on the grass and under the stars!

Preview Radiohead on Austin City Limits

photo by Scott Newton

You might recall that Austin City Limits had the pleasure of taping Radiohead back in March. As a taste of what to expect when their episode airs in the fall (on PBS, of course – check your local listings when the leaves start turning brown), check out this preview created by our videographer (and creator of our current open) Jonathan Jackson.

Radiohead “Lotus Flower” – Austin City Limits – behind the scenes from Austin City Limits on Vimeo.

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr to keep up with tapings. airings and other ACL happenings..