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Music by VICE

I Was One of the “Half a Dozen Drunk Hippies” Thom Yorke Played a Secret DJ Set To

Except it wasn’t half a dozen people, none of them were hippies, but I was quite drunk.

by Ryan Bassil
Aug 7 2014, 11:49am

Thom Yorke, DJing somewhere else

Earlier this week, slotted between other music news stories regarding Taylor Swift, Chipotle, and Charli XCX admitting Icona Pop’s “I Love It” is kind of annoying, news broke that Thom Yorke had played a DJ set to “half a dozen drunk hippies”.

The Evening Standard reported that Thom, who has written an album about stationery and reduced grown men to tears, played at the hilariously named Leopallooza festival at 2:30 AM—where he was greeted by people that “had no idea who he was.”

This was observed by one “astonished music buff”.

Aside from the fact no real person uses “buff” as a noun, the story seemed a little strange. Like the Coolio Pornhub story a few weeks ago, Thom’s tale travelled across the internet—posted by websites like Pitchfork and NME—regardless of whether or not it was true.

Our mate Nathan, who is from Cornwall, happened to be at that very DJ set. So here is the real truth from an eyewitness. Suck on that the internet.

An exclusive photo of Thom Yorke in a crowd, taken by Nathan

Noisey: You’re one of the lucky few that caught Thom Yorke’s secret DJ set. What happened?
Nathan: Well, I’m from Bude, and I’ve been going to Leopallooza for years. After watching a brilliant set from Dingus Khan, we staggered over to the VIP bar to avoid the queues. Thom Yorke was just starting his set inside.

There’s a couple quotes floating around. The first – that Thom Yorke played a DJ set to “half a dozen drunk hippies”. Can you confirm or deny whether there were hippies, there were six of them in attendance, and whether or not they were intoxicated?
The people watching were a mixture of band members, bar staff, and the sort of punters that could afford posh camping. The closest thing to a hippy was a guy wearing a Grateful Dead T-shirt.

I suppose Grateful Dead are quite Woodstock. How many people were watching do you reckon?
The crowd was probably in the 30s. It was only me and about ten others that were dancing, though. I was pretty drunk, too, so there’s one grain of truth from that quote.

Another quote says that Thom Yorke was seen "barn-dancing" with people that "didn't have a clue who he was."
It’s Thom Yorke mate, he’s pretty noticeable looking guy. I’m sure people knew who he was, but he was there with his family having a good time. People weren’t going to make a big deal. That’s why he keeps coming back to the festival—I’d imagine if people started interrupting him for a photo while he was buying his kid a Mr. Whippy he probably wouldn’t like it as much.

And he stayed around for the whole weekend, right? He wasn’t just there to DJ and unintentionally keep the music news cycle running+
Yeah. He was around all weekend. I was watching a band of kids play a set of acoustic covers and he was getting really into it, I mean, at any point he could have launched into the dance from the “Lotus Flower” video.

What was the DJ set like? Did anyone lose their shit when they could see Thom Yorke was playing?
Pretty great. It was all vinyl, and he was scratching to some old school hip hop. He also played a load of pretty obscure, industrial techno, so it was hardly clicking play on an MP3 of “Sex on Fire.”

Did you lose your shit?
When I saw him do his set last year, I really lost it. It took me about three songs to realise I was just staring at him mouthing “That’s Thom Fucking Yorke”. This year I’d gotten over it slightly, and even considered wandering over and telling him that Pablo Honey is genuinely a good album and anyone that thinks otherwise is dumb. I didn’t though, obviously.

Follow Ryan on Twitter: @RyanBassil

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