Friday, August 29, 2008

I am a Radiohead

Radiohead wrapped up their North American Tour this past week. I've seen them 6 times and just realized that it was over 10 years ago that they had me at 'Meeting in the Aisle' (an obscure B side) on a dreary NYC night at Radio City Music Hall. They've been sacred to me ever since and I don't use that term lightly either. They've been with me through relationship and life struggles and were my soundtrack to navigate through 9/11 where I had a front row seat. 'Life in A Glass House' repeatedly danced through my brain with the deeply relevant message 'Once again, we are hungry for a lynching/That's a strange mistake to make/You should turn the other cheek/Living in a glass house.'
I felt compelled to travel great distances to see them including a trip to Dublin in October 2000 to see them in Kildare, Ireland on Thom Yorke's birthday which was quite a treat. I recall it as being a big internet astonishment moment where I realized that I could press a bunch of buttons on a keyboard and walk up to this little booth I'd traveled so far to get to and they had a ticket waiting for me. Radiohead was in the midst of a five-week tour with custom designed big-top tent and state of the art sound, lights, laser and big screens. No corporate branding or logos to be found either at these generous and fan focused series of shows. As I looked around the hyper-enthusiastic European crowd during 'Exit Music' I realized the shamanic abilities of this truly special band. Thom Yorke had literally cast a spell over the thousands of us who were completely still and seemingly out-of-body.

Sing us a song,
a song to keep us warm,
there's such a chill, such a chill.

And you can laugh a spineless laugh,
we hope your rules and wisdom choke you.

And now we are one
in everlasting peace.

R'head has played 'Exit Music' in all 6 shows that I've seen (I have to mention seeing them in Florence, the home of the Rennaissance and the eery Dantes Inferno thread the show had!) Ten years later 'Exit Music' still had that same mesmerizing effect at the Inaugural SF Outsidelands Festival where Radiohead was the first band EVER to play at night at Golden Gate Park. Quite an honor and a perfect druidic night with the fog rolling above us. Thom and the gang performed another magical sermon replete with poetic dissonance of the horrors and joys of life framed by a dazzling light and video accompaniment.

It was an epic show and this Tour was clearly a meaningful one for the band and fans. 'In Rainbows' released digitally in a groundbreaking 'pay what you want' format, beautifully ties all of their previous work together. It's sound and lyrics seem particularly timely delivered with a sense of urgency and guided by a steady, mature hand. Hearing all of the songs on the new album live was glorious including one of my favorite moments of the show where the power went out on the band and forced the crowd into a sing-along during "All I Need"--

You are all I need
You are all I need

I'm in the middle of your picture
Lying in the reeds

Rumor has it that Radiohead is going to cut back on their touring due to their environmental concerns about their sizeable footprint. Yorke has become a big spokesman for the Big Ask which is pushing for greater legislation by the EU to combat emissions that cause climate change.

I'm grateful to have seen them on this tour in such a magical surrounding and no matter what they do from here, their influence and inspiration will carry great value for many, many years to come.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

BLADE your ride

I just co-created and produced a launch party for a fantastic new product called BLADE from a company out of Austin, Texas named Sabertec. BLADE attaches to your tailpipe and reduces emissions of greenhouse gasses and air pollution, and it improves fuel economy to potentially save hundreds of dollars per year on gas. According to the company founder Bill O'brien, the fuel efficiency increase was a complete surprise benefit of the technology. They set out to capture harmful particulates with the BLADE and it actually makes the engine perform at a more efficient rate, thus improving fuel economy. I could see as much as a 34% fuel efficiency improvement on my 4-cylinder Prius--I just got one on the car so we'll see how it goes! Most importantly though, a $200 up-front investment that helps reduce emissions seems like a no-brainer (major distribution outlets for BLADE will be forthcoming). A recent German study convincingly shows that auto-emissions cause significantly higher rates of asthma, skin rashes and allergies in children.

The invite only party to create awareness about BLADE was a great success. 400 people showed up in what proved to be a very cool and eco-savvy crowd. The Crystal Method played for an hour and a half dipping way into the library with my fave of the night "Love is a Battlefield" by Pat Benatar. We served organic wines from Organic Vintners and Parducci, organic chocolate from Theo and lovely hors d'oeuvres from the always amazing M Cafe de Chaya. Art was provided by Timothy Williams and Jennifer Hart Biagiotti. More pix can be found here.