Pink Talking Fish 9.28.13


Quixote's True Blue
Denver, CO

Words & Photos By Brad Yeakel


I entered Quixote's True Blue with an excitement confounded. Not only was I seeing a band for the first time, I was also meeting up with an old friend from college, Sam. He and his wife Alex were in Colorado for a family visit, and were excited to get out on the town for a little while. I knew we would fall right back into our familiar flow and pick up where we left off, that's the beauty of people like Sam. Sure enough, we enjoyed the evening thoroughly and had a great time catching up on all that's happened since we shared some space. Before long, I had introduced Sam and Alex to some of my local friends, and our crew approached double digits. The introductions were completed just as Pink Talking Fish took the stage.

Particle's Ben Combe and Eric Gould have teamed up with two Kansas City musicians, Brandon Draper and Ben Hutchinson, to form this cover driven quartet. The beauty, they only cover three bands: PINK Floyd, TALKING Heads, and Phish. Fortunately for me, I love all three. With such varying musical sounds, I wondered if they would capture the real tone of the originals, but it wasn't like that. It was more like a display of the common ground the three musical giants share. The band seamlessly transitioned between songs and bands as if they were intended to go together. It was exciting to hear Floyd subtly creep out from a Phish jam, only to develop legs and become a Talking Heads dance party. Not only were the songs performed well, the material was choice, and the presentation was tight. While the tone's of Trey, Gilmour, and Byrne weren't necessarily replicated, the notes were all there. Ben Combe hit pretty much every note I expected to hear all night. Through hefty compositions and energetic jams, they all executed near perfectly.

With members of Particle leading the band, I expected some electronica segues and jams, but the foursome left the untz at home. Rather, they inspired the crowd to dance with rock and roll improv and subtle transitions. Additionally, they not only took the songs on journeys, they also planted teases. "Cross-eyed and Painless" and "Careful with that Axe, Eugene" peaked out from behind "2001."

The one aspect that was lackluster was the visual element. While the Talking Heads heyday may have been playing small clubs, Pink Floyd and Phish have made their fortunes playing arenas, and their lights and props were extravagant. Quixote's light rig was great for a venue of it's size, but it still created a dim, neon wash. With so many affordable stage accessories available these days, I was surprised the band hadn't brought some supporting lights. A little fog machine, small lasers, or LED's would have gone a long way to enhance the experience.

On the whole, Pink Talking Fish swam through adventurous musical waters, and avoided getting caught. Ben Combe proved once again exceeded my expectations. Eric Gould's bass playing was in the groove like a needle on a record. Brandon Draper seamlessly shifted from the Talking Heads' dance beats to John Fishman's impossible rhythms without a hitch, and Ben "Worrell Wright McConnell" Hutchinson may have had the hardest job, learning the works of three absolute masters. At the end of the show, Sam and Alex headed their own way, and promised to let me know the next time they pass through. I left with some other friends and considered the evening, a reminder of the amazing, uplifting nature of old friends and great music... fresh kindling on the embers of an untended fire.

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Set One: Chalkdust Torture, Young Lust > I Zimbra, Bathtub Gin, Burning Down The House, You Enjoy Myself > On The Run > You Enjoy Myself > Crosseyed & Painless

Set Two: 2001* > Another Brick In The Wall > Houses In Motion > Another Brick In The Wall, Any Colour You Like > Possum, Making Flippy Floppy, Pigs (3 Different Ones) > Run Like An Antelope

Encore (One): Once In A Lifetime > Eclipse >Slave To The Traffic Light

Encore (Two): Slippery People > Sand > Slippery People

*w/ Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun and Crosseyed & Painless teases

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