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Sightings: KRCW's Radio Festival

Apr 16 2007 9:26 AM EDT

Shins, Lilly Allen Get Upstaged By Shedding Classical Guitar Player At Fest

Rodrigo y Gabriela steal the show at Saturday's 'A Sounds Eclectic Evening' in Southern California

By Kurt Orzeck

UNIVERSAL CITY, California — How do you inspire L.A.'s Lexus-driving, museum-going cognoscenti into headbanging along to Metallica? Via a Mexican duo belting out a Latin-tinged cover of the band's instrumental "Orion" on guitar, apparently. Someone tell Lars.

Taste-making local radio station KCRW's sixth annual, five-and-a-half-hour "A Sounds Eclectic Evening" indeed lived up to its billing Saturday night. From Rodrigo y Gabriela's show-stealing, fleeting acoustic folk-metal to the Shins' expansive distorted-guitar rock to Lily Allen's laptop-assisted hip-pop to a stanky James Brown tribute and even a harp solo, there was something for everyone — every one of the elite attendees who could afford a $40-$300 ticket, that is.

"There are a lot of flavors here tonight," Shins keyboardist/bassist Marty Crandall said during the band's closing set, before adding: "We're butterscotch."

As the benefit — staged to help fund the digital transfer of KCRW's music library — got rolling, the scene backstage proved equally bizarre (oops ... make that diverse!). Will Ferrell, in all his poofy-haired goodness, darted from one room to the next. Adrian Grenier, dressed in a Hugh Hefner-esque felt track suit, coolly strode through the crowd — without much of an "Entourage," natch. Also mixing it up was a rather uppity Tracey Ullman, of all people, who rubbed shoulders with big-name donors to the successful National Public Radio affiliate.