When Radiohead stopped by South Florida, it was mostly in support of their latest album A Moon Shaped Pool, but they also nodded to the 20th anniversary of their breakthrough album OK Computer, playing “Airbag,” “Let Down,” “Climbing Up the Walls,” and the suicidal lullaby “No Surprises” to a thrilled arena crowd of super fans.
When Drawing Bored’s Ralph Arana heard about the album’s landmark anniversary and its special edition June re-release, he put out an open call on Facebook for bands who’d be interested in collaborating for an OK Computer tribute night. Members of Snowmoon, Dama Vicke, and Off Orbit signed on, and An Interstellar Burst: A Tribute to Radiohead’s OK Computer began to take shape.
Arana, a massive Radiohead fan, was about 14 years old when he first heard the record. “It totally blew me away. I can’t skip any of those songs. It inspired me to pick up the guitar more and try to do more with the guitar than just play Nirvana chords back and forth, which is what I was doing at the time, mostly.”
Like Arana, Off Orbit’s Marcos Jimenez credits Radiohead directly with influencing his guitar-playing style. “Jonny Greenwood’s wild experimental way of playing guitar — he mixes up the vintage way of playing with the more modern modulations.”
Dama Vicke was living in Mexico when she first heard OK Computer, but it was nevertheless just as impactful on her as a fan and musician. “It’s one of those albums that marks you for the rest of your life,” she says.
Like her tribute collaborators, she’s taken to practicing the songs meticulously to properly honor the album which influenced their artistry in both direct and subtle ways. “I’ve been sitting down and listening to different versions of them live and [adopting] my own style. It’s challenging. I don’t want to mess up their songs.”
Members of each band have selected a handful of their favorite songs to play lead on. Collaborators will jump on and off songs as the night progresses, and to keep the element of surprise, they will not play the album in sequence. The musicians will cap off the night with an ensemble performance of “Paranoid Android,” with all participating artists playing on the song in a Last Waltz style sendoff to what promises to be a night of celebration for an album that impacted a generation, played by the musicians who continue to glean inspiration from it.