By Nick McCabe - Front Row Photo
I recently went to a performance by The Floyd, a Northern Nevada Pink Floyd tribute band playing at The Brewery Arts Center in Carson City Nevada. I had seen them before in an earlier incarnation and was even more impressed this time than before. This is not just a group of talented musicians playing Pink Floyd music. They have the full Floyd stage setup with the round projection screen behind them, lights all around the stage as well as colored stage lighting overhead, all rotating and moving about, plus lasers. The special effects included authentic Pink Floyd videos projected on the circular screen and sound effects from Pink Floyd recordings played (sound effects, not music) to enhance and add authenticity to the music they were playing.
The most impressive add-on from the last time I saw their show was the addition of “The Carson High School and Alumni Decaphonic Floydian Singers”. This is a group of eleven young singers who joined the band for several selections from The Wall near the start of the concert. They started out by lining up on the steps on both sides of the audience at attention facing center. They were all dressed in black and were wearing crossed hammer armbands (from The Wall) with their arms crossed on front of their chests in an “X” with fists clinched, a move from The Wall. As they sang in chorus with the band the singers on one side of the theater moved around the back and came down the steps joining the others, and then they all marched up onto the stage and took their places on risers where they stayed and sang for several songs. This was a wonderful move adding to the depth of drama, excitement, and professionalism of the show. The singers are Adriana Avetia, Daniel Cihigoyenetche, Ivan Gates, Samantha Gates, Shaolin Gates, Emily Janssens, Sadie Janssens, Brent Lauderbaugh, Sam Lowe, Melody Rickets, and Henry Wilson. Their stage presence and vocals were outstanding.
This particular evening the main focus was on Animals, Pink Floyds tenth album released from 1977 which they played in its entirety after the previously mentioned section from The Wall with the choir. The album is filled with political commentary and is loosely based on George Orwell's book, Animal Farm. Animals only has 5 selections on it, two of which are under a minute and a half. This meant there were three long songs to memorize and master, which was no problem for this talented group. After finishing Animals they played selections off of several other Pink Floyd albums including Dark Side of The Moon, A Momentary Lapse of Reason, Wish You Were Here, and they finished the evening with Run Like Hell from The Wall. They played for an astonishing three hours.
The Floyd consists of Vince Gates on vocals, guitars, and bass guitar, Dean Rossi on drums, Curt Mitchell on guitars and vocals, Kevin Smith on guitars and vocals, Rob Lawrence on keyboards, Lisa McCuiston on vocals, and Joel Edwards on sax. On this evening they had Eric Anderson of The Novelists as a guest vocalist. A show like theirs requires more than the players on stage to pull off. Based on information on The Floyd's website their support team consists of Todd Rold – Lead Audio Engineer, Franklin Brock – Lead Technical Director, Lighting, & Effects, Tim Ranalla – Stage, Surround Sound, Lighting, Rigging & Projection, Tomas Sipaila – Lasers & Effects, and Alex Selemenev – Lasers, Design & Programming. For this particular mini tour of BAC and Miners Foundry the lighting and many of the lasers were supplied and operated by Mark Jacoby of Laser Dance along with Tomas Sipaila.
I have been a huge Pink Floyd fan since the 1970’s. I have seen four Pink Floyd concerts and have seen Roger Waters The Wall Tour, as well as a handful of internationally touring Pink Floyd tribute bands. Although nothing can equal the original Pink Floyd, I think I can speak from a well informed position when I say there is only one thing that separates The Floyd from the giant internationally touring Pink Floyd bands. That would be the budget. The budget to have more personnel on stage and behind the scenes, the budget to have more of a stage presence with bigger screens and more lights and effects, and the budget to take the show on the road with unlimited resources. This group of professional musicians that call themselves The Floyd can play Pink Floyd music as good as anybody. I thank them and all the other Pink Floyd bands out there for keeping the music alive. It’s no easy task to present such iconic and brilliantly composed and recorded music faithfully. The Floyd does it wonderfully, and they bring something to the table that none of the others ever have - “The Carson High School and Alumni Decaphonic Floydian Singers”. Bravo!
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…and the beat goes on.
Nick McCabe can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org