The big Rock and Pop news this weekend is that Radiohead had, by all accounts, a bit of a shocker at the Coachella festival with sound problems causing them to walk off several times.
This sort of thing does happen but what’s interesting in this clip is that when the sound drops, the band carry on playing, don’t miss a beat and continue to Mak Show – entirely oblivious to the fact that the enormous PA system out front has cut dead. Of course they’re all wearing sophisticated in-ear monitoring systems which means that they’re not only hearing a very precise mix of their live sound tailored to what they need to hear on stage, they also cannot hear anything else – and if it’s so powerful that they can’t detect that the PA has gone down presumably they’re completely isolated from the great unwashed in the audience or anything else for that matter. This makes me think that ‘ver Head and other enormobands that use this kit routinely play in a hermetically sealed sound universe, obvious to what’s happening out front. Bands often talk about a gig very much being dependent on the energy they get back from the fans – presumably they just get the house lights raised from time to time so they can check it visually – as if this clip is anything to go by once you’re at Radiohead level you certainly won’t hear or feel how the audience are responding.