Musical Alchemy in RVA-(Pink-Talking-Fish at The National)
I barely had time to make it to The National; rushing down Broad Street to catch my second, Pink Talking Fish, show on March 15 in Richmond, Virginia. I have, in the past, tried my best to stay out of everyone’s way during St. Patties Day weekend. I’m not a drinker and I have found over the years, that many people, who go and see concerts during holidays, do not attend concerts frequently and in plain terms, cannot handle themselves or, their intake of extracurricular substances, such as alcohol. Still I decided to brave the hordes of “Irish for the weekend” and started the festivities with Pink-Talking-Fish. Meeting with a group of close friends and giving PTF another shot.
The scene outside of The National can play out like any urban city environment: people selling goods, stickers, t-shirts, drunks talking wildly, homeless persons asking to “Hold a dollar” and of course, the young kids beating on 5 gallon buckets but it was quiet for the most part. As I arrived at the box office, 22$ was easily procured from my wallet and paid to the young lady at the window who was mysterious and tall. I usually get free tickets to most concerts that I review here at www.jambandpurist.com but I decided to forgo the emails and the sometimes-tedious route of getting media tickets. I enjoyed the same experience as everyone else anyway and found it liberating for the evening.
The house was crammed with the strangest array of individuals, I have seen at a concert in quite some time. The place was literally packed and quite diverse. There were groups of rave kids in neon colored clothes, heady dreadies, deep-fried-spunions, RVA Hipsters with curly mustaches and waxed beards, the old and the crusty alike. Who do I fall in line with this crowd? I’m never sure, as I get older every second and persist in finding distinctive sensibilities. My father and Grandmother continue to wonder why, I never grew out of going to concerts. They can’t fathom how someone can enjoy live music at the ripe old age of 32! (So, I’m Probably old and crusty at this point.)
My last experience with Pink-Talking-Fish was last year at 5 Points Music Sanctuary. This was actually my first show at 5 Points and thus begun my relationship with that venue; my favorite venue in Virginia. So I can never thank them enough for making me get down to Roanoke that night. This show seemed much different than I had previously remembered and with a new guitarist, a larger audience and rising energy, PTF came out strong, I didn’t arrive on time so, I don’t know exactly what they started off with but the set list seems to closely resemble some others on this tour. I wasn’t expecting much more than a fun time from this band and my assertions were essentially correct but what I was most impressed with was the musical abilities of each member.
PTF can fucking play. That’s all there is to it. Each member brings an original energy and unique musical attribute. The keyboard player, Richard James is obviously the leader throwing the keys around like a plaything. The new guitarist, Cal Kehoe would throw his head back in pure ecstasy, while soloing, in and out, of Pink Floyd, Talking Heads and Phish songs. The band carefully melds these songs like sonic blacksmiths. Songs from the evening included: “Mike’s Song”, “Breathe”, “Cities”, “Have A Cigar”, “Psycho Killer”, an unexpected, “Martian Monster”, “Weekapaug Groove”, “Stash”, “Punch You In The Eye”, “Wilson” and even, “Roses Are Free” and my favorite, “Careful With That Ax Eugene.”
Reflecting back, I can’t help but think what this band could do with an original catalogue of material. While I enjoy a good cover act, especially with one that captures the spirit of three legendary bands, it’s always hard for me to suspend my belief and actually enjoy myself without, completing comparing it with the real thing. My mind is always critiquing and comparing, contrasting and analyzing; the truth is, I wish I could lose myself completely in the music because PTF warrants my full attention. In the end, I’m still left dreaming, “What could be?”
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.