A Powerful Night Of Music With Steve Hackman’s: Brahms v. Radiohead…

By Meikee Magnetic

Steve Hackman conducts the Stereo Hideout Orchestra in Brahms vs. Radiohead at Kings Theatre, 5/19/18. Photo by Chris Lee

The very first time I listened to Radio Head’s ‘Ok Computer’ album was in the year 1997 and it was a day that I will never forget. While on tour it was my turn to drive the van packed full of musicians on the way to Austin driving at night through the majestic Texas desert. When you’re surrounded by pitch-black darkness your mind can really focus on the most subtle of things. It was like a flash went off as their music hit me, in the middle of nowhere, driving, listening and taking it all in. If your a fan of Radio Head, the genius intensity of their songwriting as well as performance stands in a place all its own. How can you top that? Well, Conductor, Steve Hackman and the SF Symphony did so with a majestic grace of electronic-orchestral syntheses on Thursday, July 11, gracing Davies Symphony hall with musical royalty. Steve Hackman is an outstanding collection of personal talents: composer, conductor, producer, DJ, arranger, songwriter, singer, pianist, and rapper and I missing anything. One can say he’s a hybrid human being who re-imagines Stravinsky and Shostakovich into original orchestral-electronic concept albums. We were treated to uniquely powerful versions of ‘No Surprises’ and ’Karma Police’ including two nonstop hours of Radio Head music led by three incredible vocalists. Singers Kéren Tayár, Will Post and Andrew Lipke stood, front and centre while they performed taking us on a magical journey through the sounds of one of World’s greatest bands and navigated beautifully by an amazing musical captain at the helm. Once their beautiful renditions of each song ended they gently sat until the next song taking the night as we all did. As a scholar student from the Berklee College of music, this was Ms. Tayár’s debut with the SF Symphony and she made us all proud. Mr. Post and Mr. Lipke each had their own vocal styles that worked perfectly solo or in harmony. When all three vocalists sang choruses in unison, their power filled the room from front to back and echoed off the ceilings.   

There were many Radio Head fans filling the seats of the Davis Hall including myself. It was a pure delight to hear my favourite electronic/rock group in a way I’ve never heard before, wow just mind-blowing to think their music could get any better. Elevating it to a form of audible pop art, that even Brahms himself would have been captivated and proud of. It was as if I was brought back to that empty Texas desert but this time I wasn’t alone, all of the Davis Symphony Hall fans were along for the ride and what a ride it truly was…     

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Created and arranged by Steve Hackman

For more info on the SF Symphony go to: www.sfsymphony.org