Radiohead and Tel Avivby Telavivian | 02.04.17
It is a well-known secret in Tel Aviv that Radiohead are, in fact, a little bit Tel Avivian. Despite the mega-group’s origins residing well within the land of fries with amphibians, multi-colored lagers and top hats, Tel Avivians tend to pride themselves for being, somehow, Radiohead’s ‘original crowd’.
Back in 1993, Radiohead released their first album, Pablo Honey, met with lukewarm media attention at home in the UK. But somehow when “Creep” met Israel, all hell broke loose. Legendary radio personality, Yoav Kutner, is rumored to have played the single non-stop for a full hour when it came out. It later became an Israeli staple in a controversial Castro fashion ad, launching the carrier of Israeli film star Yael Abecassis.
An urban legend Tel Avivian kids think of as absolute truth is that the video for “Creep”, the band’s first hit single, was shot in Tel Aviv club The Roxen. A legend which is false, but has stuck with locals for over two decades.
Following this enormous territorial success, the band was promptly invited to perform in Tel Aviv—and made it their first show outside of the UK.
Since then, it appears that Radiohead never forgot the small country that was the first to present adoring appetizers for their ultimate success. When the band came back to visit in the year 2000, lead guitarist Jonny Greenwood was already married to Nahariya-based artist Sharon Katan, further cementing Radiohead’s foreign roots in the holy land. Greenwood has later collaborated with two Israeli musicians —Dudu Tassa, and later, Shye Ben Tzur, with whom he went on an exploratory trip into Indian sounds— the album Junun, produced by Radiohead’s iconic producer Nigel Godrich and made into film by American director Paul Thomas Anderson.
When it was announced that the band will return to the city for the first time in 17 years, for one show at Park Hayarkon, Tel Aviv on July 19th, Tel Aviv came to a boil. It quickly became the fastest selling concert for a non-Israeli artist in Israel (as well as Israel’s first slip into only fraudulent tickets vendors, which is why production asks you to buy your tickets only at the official eventim.co.il/radiohead).
But when the band announced last week that their show in Tel Aviv, as well as large chunks off their European and American tours will be opened by Israeli acts—Dudu Tassa and the Kuwaitis, and Shy Ben Zur’s Junun—social networks took it as yet another episode in the flourishing relationship between band and city, and Radiohead made even more Israeli music-scene history by being the first concert of this magnitude to include an Arabic-language opening act.
Where will this relationship go next? We will have to wait for July to find out.
Park Hayarkon, July 19, for more details and tickets.