I had been hearing about Pink-Talking-Fish for sometime; the mash-up of Pink Floyd, Talking Heads and Phish was quite appealing to me, as I am a huge fan of all three bands and know almost every song in each catalog. Cover shows can be disappointing but my anxious thoughts were replaced by hopeful anticipation of new, interesting combinations of songs from each band. Pink Talking Fish did not disappoint, delivering a unique blend of material. The real surprise of the night was arriving to 5 Points Music Sanctuary in Roanoke, Virginia.
This venue is one of the coolest I have been to in a long time. 5 Points is a renovated church, where the spirit of music can truly be felt. While it wasn't Sunday, it sure felt like it to me. The sound was crisp, clear and perfect; the light show illuminated the venue like an alter to the music gods themselves. The staff and security were all super friendly and helpful. I was interested to learn more about this music sanctuary. They offer outstanding music programs not only to the local Roanoke community, the local music scene, and the Virginia music scene as a whole. I fully support 5 Points in their endeavors and will gladly come back to one of their upcoming shows. If you are a Virginia resident or even a band looking for an awesome venue to play, 5 Points is a must see.
Pink Talking Fish opened up with a "Wedge" that had a lot of energy but was still a little rough around the edges. They quickly transitioned into "Have A Cigar" the Pink Floyd classic, which had the entire crowd on their feet. The solos and changes were all exact. A thread of originality ran throughout the entire set and into “Girlfriend Is Better," which is possibly my favorite Talking Heads song ever. The set list and play-by-play can be found below. The first set was good. I wasn't sure about "Famous Mockingbird" or "Colonel Forbin." Perhaps the Gamehenge canon is better left to the boys but I have no issues spreading the word of THE BOOK, especially in such a holy place. "Take Me To The River" felt very spiritual as the lights shone brilliantly throughout the sanctuary.
The second set was high powered with a significant boost in energy from the band. Their crescendos/build ups were bristling with raw energy and improvisation, taking PTF to the next level. "Run Like Hell" was jammed out beyond proportions and the rest of the set was a heady alchemical combination of classic Talking Heads and Pink Floyd songs, mixed professionally with Phish.
Setlist: Wedge, Have a Cigar, Girlfriend is Better, Col Forbin, Time>Fly Famous Mockinbird, Take Me To The River, Sheep>Down With Dieses>Sheep, Life During Wartime. Run Like Hell, Making Flippy FLoppy, Free>Us and Them, Pulled Up The Roots>Waves, What A Day That Was, First Tube.
I would love to see PTF expand their improvisational techniques and take this even further into unknown territory; developing their changes within each song to segue into each other is also a very important part in making this endeavor even more interesting. Great musicianship all around from guitarist, Dave Brunyak and keyboardist Richard James, keeping the backbeat is Zack Burwick and Eric Gould on bass. Let's be realistic, none of these songs are easy to play and PTF does a fine job presenting them in a fun and original way. I am sure I will be catching PTF again in the future and of course, I will be returning to 5 Points every chance I get.
Any time spent with music is time well spent,
Jam Band Purist
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Editor: Robert (R.A.) Fadley
Freelance Writer, Musicologist, Music Journalist, Music Critic, Music Writer, Author, Musician, Singer-songwriter, Composer, Guitarist.