True ‘soundalike’ with added self-deprecating skill

From: This is North Devon

SINCE when did “tribute band” mean “lookalike act”? Surely, isn’t it better to be a “soundalike”? Well it’s certainly better to hear one, especially when the band’s main concern is not how they look.

The advantage for The Dark Side of Pink Floyd is this: the musicians they emulate have no distinct image. Waters and co do not have striking appearances, and even the most hardcore fanatics would be forgiven for not being sure what these gentlemen look like.

Any tribute act, therefore, is given the straightforward task of using sound alone to reproduce the live concert experience of an English icon. And a big light extravaganza would help too, but the Bunch of Grapes isn’t quite Wembley yet.

Of course, “straightforward” in this case could not be further from that. Lesser musicians charged with replicating masterpieces such as Time, Money and Great Gig In The Sky would – I’ve no doubt – tuck their tails, don mullet wigs and belt out their loudest Noddy Holder screams. And who could blame them? DSPF are crazy to even try.

But try they do, and it’s difficult to ignore how far they travel with their efforts – and how far they take the audience in the process.

In renditions of classics such as Hey You, Sheep and the epic Echoes (played in almost its entirety), two forces were at work.

As musicians, the band successfully reproduced an authentic Pink Floyd sound – which in itself is praiseworthy enough. But as artists, each individual added their own personal stamp to the mix.

Songs were honoured, but embellished with the wealth of experience from time-served performers who were not merely put on this Earth to imitate a great band. Yet this was done with modesty and even a touch of self-deprecation.

It’s perhaps fitting that a tribute band for a band that isn’t known for its image is, well, not so concerned about its image.

Maybe it’s logical to assume that a tribute band is made up of musicians that haven’t created anything of merit in their own rights, but that assumption certainly isn’t true of Dark Side of Pink Floyd. Just look at their website to see what credentials their members have. The best tribute of all for one of the world’s greatest groups, I believe, is to be imitated by such a highly creative and proficient bunch.