Friday, 1/11 at Cervantes was my 2nd opportunity to see Blake Mobley and his morphing lineup of musicians known as Tiger Party. The lineup was identical to the last time I saw them, but the music was a little different. Each musician had great chops, and stylistically, I enjoy the band more than many. The funky drumming is at the core. The way the drums continue to pump danceable rhythms allows the band to exist as extensions of the groove. Bassist "Fleeb" showed his dexterity as he ran a punchy rhythmic counterpart to Seth Fankhauser's drums. I felt Fleeb's playing was solid, but I was often left wanting for a wetter, deeper, fatter tone. I also felt Ryan Burnett's guitar work was slick and consistent, but he didn't have the flash that caught my attention last time. Blake was predictably great. His style had elements of the Motet's Joey Porter as well as the funk legend, Bernie Worrell. His varying tones were synthy, shiny, bumping, and all had an audible joy to them. His keys just seem to ooze "party." Earlier in the week, Blake posted a message on their Facebook page asking for requests. The person who had their song chosen would be rewarded with a free shot from the band. I suggested David Bowie's "Let's Dance." Near the end of their set, the band launched into it to the crowd's delight and my elation. When the set was over and Pig's on the Wing were on stage, Blake sought me out and invited me backstage for a shot of Crown Royal. The shot was more like two, and they offered a chaser... straight whiskey. I can truly say that the Tiger Party are as nice as they are talented; a great bunch of people.
The headlining act, Pigs on the Wing, was a Pink Floyd cover band featuring STS9's David Murphy. As a die-hard Floyd fan, I went in with mixed feelings. On one hand, I absolutely love Floyd's music, but on the other, there is a perfection to their catalog that is rarely duplicated accurately. I've seen some amazing covers of their work, but a whole show of their songs is rarely pulled off with the gravitas that it deserves. Usually it is the instrumental tone where bands fall short, but POTW had those tones dialed in so well I was amazed. Murph dropped in bass lines with the weight of Waters original work, their tandem keyboardists/samplers (Alfredo Lapuz Jr and Stanley Walker) had Richard Wright's wide array of effects and tones nailed, and Matt Weiss played the lead guitar with a combination of searing Gilmour tone and perfect bends and slides to re-create some epic solos. Pink Floyd's beauty, mystery, power, and brilliance translated through the players, and the result pleased me to pieces.
The one area that was less than perfect was the vocals. The majority of the time, they were fairly close, but on occasion the difference was glaring. To be fair, Waters' maniacal screams and paranoia are as tough to replicate as Gilmour's polished passages, and both are unique, powerful, and demand confidence and range that few can exhibit. I was impressed with the overall product and I would gladly experience the show again. What I found most appealing of all was the song selection. If I had written a dream set list for Floyd to play, it would likely have looked almost identical to Pigs on the Wing's show. These guys know Floyd's work, they have a great feel for the best among it, and they perform it with a respect that is required to mimic the masters. They played the vast majority of the show with an accuracy and precision that emphasized the brilliance and perfection of the originals, yet took the second "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" on a little exploratory dance party that was simply awesome. I was overly impressed, and would recommend them to any Floyd fan who have the chance to see them. I have seen both Waters and Gilmour live, and I think they'd both be pleased to see this band do their work justice. Keep watching for Pigs on the Wing.