Live Music Review: Brahms v. Radiohead

When you think of Radiohead’s classic alt-rock album OK Computer, what’s the first thing that pops into your head? I doubt it’s Johannes Brahms’s First Symphony. Oddly enough, they work well together, as proven by Steve Hackman’s “Brahms v. Radiohead”, which we saw at the Columbus Symphony last night.

In the first half, the orchestra played a classic Brahms piece, before three arrangements of Radiohead songs – CreepThere, There, and Fake Plastic Trees – which were all fascinating in their own way.

After intermission came the big one: a 60-minute mashup of Brahms’s First Symphony and eight songs off of Radiohead’s OK Computer. By blending all four movements from the symphony with almost the entirety of OK Computer, a masterpiece was created. Each song was chosen because of musical elements that lined up with Brahms’s work, like the key of the song or the time signature, making it far easier to combine.

What follows is an intoxicating musical journey that’s full of deconstruction and rebuilding, combining Radiohead and classical music in a way that I never thought possible.

Although this isn’t usually what we’d be covering, I thought it warranted an article. As an avid Radiohead fan, I had high hopes for this concert, and even those were met, if not surpassed. It was definitely outside of my “comfort zone” in terms of Saturday night concerts, but I have no doubts that I would go back if I had the chance.

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