A Booth, a Mic, and a Tower
February 27, 2011 8:25 PM   Subscribe

It’s increasingly rare for musicians to come into a radio station for anything more than a concert or album promo, but you can still find live performances from the booth if you know where to tune in: WNRN, an independent radio station in Virginia, has regular live acoustic performances of touring musicians, and records them in HD: The Punch Brothers covering Reptilia and Rye Whiskey; Locust in the Willow and Sometimes in This Country from Crooked Still. (much more)

Stevie Wonder and Eric Benet improvising on “You and I” at Stevie’s own radio station, KJLH.

Eminem freestyling on BBC Radio 1. BBC Live Lounge.

Howard Stern has supported live acoustic acts for a long time: Elton John, “Why Isn’t Howard Stern On TV?”; Dave Grohl, Everlong, My Hero; Counting Crows. A few public radio stations have dedicated performance spaces used for live shows : WNYC’s Greene Space and the BBC’s Maida Vale.

(Also of note: Acoustic Café and WNYC’s Soundcheck: Best Live Perfomances of 2010. Post intended as a companion piece to this earlier post).
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul (36 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
Some of the Howard Stern ones are pretty great although you always get a little "That was amazing" or something right at the end from one of the hosts, which bugs me. Had never heard the Elton John one before, that was funny! Thanks.
posted by cell divide at 8:33 PM on February 27, 2011

JJJ in Australia regularly has bands into their studios for live performances. I haven't listened for a while, but I think you'll find them amongst the stuff on their live at the wireless program page.
posted by Ahab at 8:34 PM on February 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

Check out CBC radio. Live music is a staple, and they record and produce prodigious quantities of concert recordings.

Yes, I know alot of it is Canadian and /or niche acts you will never hear of... but there are also many international artists, and a great many of the recordings are downloadable. Your ipod will runneth over.
posted by Artful Codger at 8:40 PM on February 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

WNYC also does Tiny Desk Concerts, which are generally amazing and video/mp3-able. I'm on a phone on a poor connection, or else I'd link.
posted by nevercalm at 8:47 PM on February 27, 2011

Tiny Desk Concerts at NPR
posted by bread-eater at 8:58 PM on February 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

The Everlong thing always made me wonder if Dave listened to it on Stern, and then decided to release it again as an acoustic track, because that shit is amazing.
posted by valkane at 8:59 PM on February 27, 2011

A few public radio stations have dedicated performance spaces used for live shows...

There's the wonderful news that KEXP is almost certainly moving to a new studio space in Seattle Center:

“We have a vision for opening up the concrete walls with more windows around the building to let people take in live performances and watch KEXP’s music staff at work. The vision also includes an adjacent live stage to connect folks to artists in an outdoor setting. Indoors, we envision a gallery where people could come in to watch an in-studio set and then take a tour of KEXP’s studios.

I really hope this happens as planned. In the meantime, enjoy the KEXP live session archive.
posted by rh at 9:10 PM on February 27, 2011

WWOZ in NOLA is regularly broadcasting small venue shows and musicians stop by the studio to rock out.
posted by victors at 9:21 PM on February 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

Public radio station KCRW in Los Angeles hosts talent from around the world for live performances weekly. The show is Morning Becomes Eclectic.

Here is a link to their archives, and I believe I got the search right in this link, so just click on an artist/band name and it should launch a player for you. Live performances from the archives aren't live :)

You can listen to KCRW live at KCRW.com of course.

posted by Xoebe at 9:29 PM on February 27, 2011 [3 favorites]

Wait. Maybe I've just been spoiled, but I thought all stations did this kind of thing.
posted by birdherder at 9:31 PM on February 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Across town from WNRN: The Corner Lounge (doesn't look like they put recordings of the live sessions online).
posted by Orinda at 9:31 PM on February 27, 2011

Yeah, Grohl plays the shit out of that song. Love it. Eminem on that BBC show was quite good too.
posted by dazed_one at 9:41 PM on February 27, 2011

Chris Cornell acoustic Black Hole Sun on Howard Stern
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 9:49 PM on February 27, 2011

CD101 in Columbus, OH has been doing the Big Room on air for years now. Usually happened during the afternoon. I'm actually sad that I don't hear more things like this elsewhere.

Yeah, that's right, something else from Columbus that doesn't have to do with a giant ass university up the street.

Maybe I've just been spoiled, but I thought all stations did this kind of thing.

I really wish that were true, but I'm afraid for many genres of music it would not turn out well. F*** you AutoTune.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 9:50 PM on February 27, 2011

So these artists didn't say "Please don't call me, Baba Booey"?
posted by orthogonality at 9:59 PM on February 27, 2011

WGBH 99.5 in Boston does live performances, I'm pretty sure. Always excellent, too.
posted by fartknocker at 9:59 PM on February 27, 2011

Brian Fallon (Gaslight Anthem) doing an acoustic cover of Kelly Clarkson's "I Do Not Hook Up" on some British radio station

i think FBi 94.5 in Sydney does in-studio performances, though Triple J's 'Live at the Wireless' and 'Like a Version' features are much more well known. i had a few people play in the studio when i produced a show on FBi
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:08 PM on February 27, 2011

Atlanta radio station 99X has regularly held their "Live X" series of in-studio concerts since the format change in 1992. Sadly many of the older performances are lost to the depths of time unless you manage to find a CD someplace. Thankfully, recent concerts have found their way to YouTube, including In the Hall of the Mountain King by Apocalyptica from 2010 and Drunken Lullabies by Flogging Molly from just two weeks ago.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:08 PM on February 27, 2011

KDHX in St. Louis is a wonderful independent station in St. Louis that has hundreds of live performances each year.
posted by HotPants at 10:25 PM on February 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

Just in case my comment didn't make it clear, KDHX is in St. Louis.
posted by HotPants at 10:26 PM on February 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

"but I thought all stations did this kind of thing"

They do, but Charlottesville folk are the most precious of snowflakes.

And by snowflakes I mean "assholes."
posted by bardic at 10:51 PM on February 27, 2011

KGSR has a huge archive of studio performances.
posted by kmz at 11:40 PM on February 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

And speaking of Austin (home of KGSR), our local NPR station KUT also has an rather extensive live music archive.

(Scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the links to the following 50-odd pages, bad layout makes it look like the live sets run out after the first 20 or so on the first page.)
posted by slappy_pinchbottom at 12:02 AM on February 28, 2011

Also, the great freeform station WFMU outta New Jersey (which would be my own nomination for the country's best legally licensed radio station) has quite a few live performances online also. If you're looking for more adventurous, obscure fare, this is definitely the live music radio archive for you.
posted by slappy_pinchbottom at 12:09 AM on February 28, 2011

Oregon has Oregon Public Broadcasting's OPB Music. They have live sets and all of the recordings are available online. They also have a flickr stream with pictures taken of the sets being recorded.
posted by tmt at 12:20 AM on February 28, 2011

@valkane: I'm pretty sure that was exactly what happened.
posted by XhaustedProphet at 12:28 AM on February 28, 2011

This is one of my favourites in recent times - Gorillaz doing Crystalised, originally by The XX.

Also, from the same session, Gorillaz doing Melancholy Hill
posted by DanCall at 12:48 AM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

God damn I love Stevie Wonder.
posted by dagosto at 3:10 AM on February 28, 2011

WFMU as said above is fantastic. Shows like this one from Rocket From The Tombs ( not archived but you can {cough} find it )
KCRW is great as well. ( MBE )
Indie 103.1 ( rip ) used to do this in LA as well. ( Jonesys Jukebox, Check One Two, TK , Watusi Rodeo )
posted by stuartmm at 3:26 AM on February 28, 2011

The Radio 1 Live Lounge sessions were one of the last things I stopped listening to (not to be all get-off-my-lawn about it but the presenters on Radio 1 drive me up the friggin' WALL) and I still think they are sheer pure amazingness.

There are a couple of albums of the recordings out - my absolute favourite ever is the Artic Monkeys covering Love Machine, originally by Girls Aloud. It's perfect.

Apologies, no links due to being at work :(
posted by citands at 4:54 AM on February 28, 2011

How I wish Eminem would release a full length album consisting solely of him freestyling just like this.
posted by 256 at 5:28 AM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Minnesota's public radio rock station The Current has frequent in-studio performances, archived here.
posted by padraigin at 5:47 AM on February 28, 2011

Speaking of WFMU, they're raising money for a dedicated performance space. Anyone got a spare million?

David Garland's Spinning on Air on WNYC has a lot of live performances too.
posted by moonmilk at 6:12 AM on February 28, 2011

In addition to CBC's audio recordings, the program Q has video recordings of a lot of their shows on youtube here. Lots of non-Canadian performances, too, but I'm going to plug a hometown band that have their performance up, Two Hours Traffic.
posted by Space Coyote at 6:45 AM on February 28, 2011

Don't forget France's Black Sessions, which virtually never fail to be breathtakingly amazing.
posted by schmod at 8:25 AM on February 28, 2011

Audioasis tries to do as many live shows as possible.
posted by lumpenprole at 9:31 AM on February 28, 2011

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