Music seen: Radiohead night

At the Big Easy, January 3
By CHAD CHAMBERLAIN  |  January 7, 2009

The idea for a show collecting talented Portland musicians performing as Oxfordshire's Radiohead began almost a year ago, when members of Why Hello, Cambiata, and the Model Airplane competed together as Radiohead in the Big Easy's Clash of the Titans. Although the group lost out to Pink Floyd that night, their set was such a hit they have offered encore performances thereafter. Huge numbers of Radiohead enthusiasts — as well as fans of the local acts — show up on Market Street to hear their favorite Radiohead songs performed remarkably spot-on.

Saturday was their second time performing, in its entirety, In Rainbows, the latest success from the band from southeast England. Billy Libby (Why Hello) performs as Thom Yorke, and has enough vocal range to torque his voice almost exactly to Yorke's pitch. Behind Libby, members of Cambiata and Model Airplane capture, on-stage, the layered studio production of Radiohead records. The group exhibit skill not only in their ability to convincingly perform Radiohead's music, but also in discerning their more complex and layered recordings.

It's a performance anyone should witness. For the fans, it's the closest thing to the real. And for everyone else, it's a cover band whose accuracy becomes a memorable performance in and of itself.

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