The release of Radiohead’s album The Bends in 1995 marked a watershed moment for a group that’s become the pinnacle of the indie music scene. And songs like “Planet Telex,” “Fake Plastic Trees” and “High and Dry” catapulted their recognition from a band known for writing the song ‘Creep’” into musical artists of the highest caliber.
So when Brooklyn-based musician Dani Mari started thinking about albums to honor with a tribute show through her musical and artist promotional organization Brookladelphia, Radiohead’s modern-day classic was one of the first to come to her mind. It also helped that she’s seen the band play live more than a dozen times.
“Radiohead’s my absolute favorite band, so as far as a dream album [to pay tribute to] I’ve kind of hit it with this,” Mari laughs.
In March, Mari pulled together a dozen regional bands – including Lancaster-based Second Sky – for The Bends tribute show at Brooklyn’s Cameo Gallery.
Now, Mari and Second Sky bring a Central PA version of the tribute show to Lancaster, featuring a dozen different bands and musicians at Tellus360 on April 30 to perform each song from The Bends in sequence, along with original tunes from the musicians.
Mari, who has already helped organize shows in New York and Philadelphia for songs by Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline and for the 20th anniversary of Portishead’s landmark 1994 album Dummy, says the tribute shows are a perfect way for fans of a particular musician to hear the songs done in a variety of musical styles. The March tribute show featured everything from heavy metal to acoustic tunes.
The Brooklyn show also featured Mari teaming up with Second Sky, performing the songs “Nice Dream” and “Talk Show Host.” Mari’s soaring jazzy rock vocals and Second Sky’s atmospheric world music sounds blended perfectly – a remarkable accomplishment considering Mari had never met anyone from the band before the night of the show.
Mari says she was introduced to Second Sky through her producer, Brooklyn Shanti, who was familiar with them though their record label, Rhythm & Culture. Mari worked on her vocals for the songs in Brooklyn, and then sent recordings of them to Bill Speakman in Lancaster to add to Second Sky’s instrumentation. The musicians met face-to-face shortly before the Brooklyn show was about to begin in March.
“We met, had a quick sound check rehearsal and that was it – then we played,” Mari laughs.
After the Brooklyn performance, Speakman talked to Mari about bringing the tribute concert concept to Lancaster, and the show was hatched. The tribute show holds extra significance locally, as Radiohead bassist Colin Greenwood is married to Lancaster County native and novelist Molly McGrann (there’s no indication Greenwood will actually be at tonight’s show).
Mari, who co-founded Brookladelphia this year as a way to help merge elements of the music scenes in New York and Philadelphia, says the project has helped expand musical concepts and ideas through collaboration – things like The Bends tribute shows.
“I love seeing how everybody comes together,” Mari says. “Once the events happen, you can really start seeing the connections happen. You get everybody in one room, and everybody gets inspired by all the music that’s happening.”
Tonight’s tribute shows includes performances by:
Corty Byron (Lancaster); “Planet Telex”
The Plums (York); “The Bends”
Lovers League (Philadelphia); “High and Dry”
Jake Lewis (Lancaster); “Fake Plastic Trees”
Second Hand Suits (Lancaster); “Bones”
Second Sky, with Dani Mari (Lancaster and Brooklyn); “(Nice Dream)”
Ton-Taun (Lancaster); “Just”
Here Inside (Lancaster); “My Iron Lung”
Sympathy & the Lion (Lancaster); “Bullet Proof…I Wish I Was”
Meg & the Right Sound (Lancaster); “Black Star”
Angela Sheik (Wilmington, De.); “Sulk”
Terra Voz (Bethlehem); “Street Spirit (Fade Out)”
Catch The Radiohead Tribute for The Bends at Tellus360 (24 E. King St., Lancaster) Thursday, April 30. 7:30pm. $10 at the door. Click here for info.