Tuesday, 30 August 2011

The Darkside of Pink Floyd at Teignmouth

The Darkside of Pink Floyd tribute band played to an enthusiastic audience of about a hundred at the Carlton on Saturday.

They are a quirky band. Most members of the band are related by blood or marriage and the idea to play professionally originated at a family gathering where they played DSM in full.

They include, from the left, Chris Neal who does the voices brilliantly; Alison Bradley who dresses like an opera singer and sings enthusiastically but lacks a bit in range (during Dark Side her breathy contributions sounded bizarrely orgasmic); Jon Neal on drums (who seems to go a bit off beat from time to time); Mike Neal who is a talented guitarist but could do with some support from another guitarist and appears nervous (he should cultivate the audience more); Neil Karande on keyboards; and Steve Munns on bass who keeps it all together (while gesticulating like a deaf signer on night-time TV).

Despite - or perhaps because of - these oddities they are entertaining and do a great job of replicating Pink Floyd material. Personally, I take the view that the Floyd's best stuff was before (and including) Dark Side of the Moon, while the band seems to think that the Floyd actually started life with DSM. As a result, from the first half I only recognised Shine on You Crazy Diamond and Another Brick in the Wall. The remaining songs, all from the post DSM catalogue, I didn't recognise and often veered into dull Dire Straits Local Hero territory.

In the second half they did Dark Side - and received a rousing response from the audience. Here's a taste of the final moments:

They encored with Wish You Were Here and yet another song I didn't know (Run, Run, Run, etc - you get the idea). The light show was excellent throughout (since when did tribute bands have such elaborate stage lighting??) - although the white light arrays used to blind the audience could be toned down a bit.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable gig, but the band may have to make changes if they plan to play larger venues in the future - but then again, with a loyal fan base, they may not need to ...

The last time I saw the real Pink Floyd was at Knebworth in 1975. Support acts included Linda Lewis, Roy Harper, Captain Beefheart, and Steve Miller but, in all honesty, I don't remember much about them.

Knebworth '75 crowd © Henry Cobbold

The oddly tall stage covering the primitive circular screen © Martin Stame

I do remember that there was a long delay before the Floyd, and there were loads of problems with the sound. We were miles away from the stage and there were no giant TV screens like there are now. By the time they sorted out the sound and got onto Dark Side the light was fading fast.

Aerial view of the crowd © Henry Cobbold

At the end of a long day, everyone was mellowed out (after a fair bit of drinking etc), we could actually see the circular screen over the stage as it got darker, and at last - sound problems sorted - the Floyd hit their stride with a brilliant DSM. This was all topped off by the spitfires flying over the site and a couple of magic encores.

Waters at Knebworth '75 © dannyclifford.com

In fact, it was almost good enough to erase the memory of the earlier poor sound, diabolical toilets, traffic jams, sleeping in the car, ... Ah - Happy days

To finish, here is some classic early Floyd  See Emily Play (above) and (below) an extract from the Floyd soundtrack to Antonioni's Zabriskie Point - One of the great movies from 1970 (although not really a critical or box office success).

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