the start, The Radiators had an affinity with the fishes. It's no wonder they
dubbed their eclectic sound "Fish Head Music." Even if you're new in town and haven't heard them play, you can
get a sense of who The Radiators are by their chosen genre: a sense of humor. Swimming in creativity. Not scared to get
Doing things their own way has always been part of The Radiators' essence. Influenced by the eclectic sounds that Louisiana has to offer, the band combines funky wah-wah swamp rock with popular sounds in R&B and rock, having written and recorded over 300 songs. With all that music, they zigzagged through ghostland like dreamers do, rather than releasing everything on albums in a traditional way.
Their story is long—it started in '78—so their place in the New Orleans music scene has been cemented for a while now. That's why you keep hearing about the Radiators Reunion broadcast happening on Tipitina's TV.
For their part, Tipitina's has used the pandemic to provide us with private concerts. We don't mean to sound ungrateful, but broadcasts—even on the best speakers money can buy—lack the cellular feeling you get from instruments rattling, earthquaking, and reverberating off Tipitina's walls. The pause of live music has left a chasm. One silver lining is that the tallest person in the room won't be standing directly in front of you, eclipsing your view of the entire stage (still mad about that happening at the Carly Rae Jepson concert) because you're gonna want a front-row spot for the Radiators Reunion.
Musicians are also feeling the absence of the crowd when performing for cameras. Live music is a contact sport. During a recent profile in The Times-Picayune, guitarist/vocalist Dave Malone shared his insight on the Tipitina's TV taping.
"I thought it would be weird," he said. "But what happened—and I don't want to belittle how much better it is to play for fans—was that our communication with each other was like when we were playing in the early days."
For longtime fans, reunions are an attempt at a return, a shot at recapturing a vibration that's been damped by time. Their aims rarely succeed, but from what we hear, it sounds like The Radiators have done the impossible.
The three-night event will be streamed straight to you on January 15 - 17. Get a full weekend pass ($89.99) or an individual night ticket ($34.99) here. You can expect the two full sets of this reunion to be one for the books.
Malone also talked with The Times-Picayune about the impact COVID-19 has had on their lives. "We're being careful. I'm 68 and diabetic, and I'm the youngest Radiator. I am staying away from people," he said.
Carrying around that kind of cautiousness is something New Orleanians can easily relate to. Good thing this three-night event with The Radiators will be a chance to let loose without taking a big risk.