Before they were Brit Floyd, most of the members were playing with The Australian Pink Floyd Show, a group that gained a worldwide reputation as the premier Pink Floyd tribute band - in fact, they were even hired to play the 50th birthday of actual Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour. However, in 2005, when they were scheduled to tour the U.S., the three Australian musicians in the band opted to part ways with the group, firing their manager and replacing the ensemble of musicians that made up the rest of the band. The others (arguably the more talented members of the group) chose to continue on with their manager, abandoning the Aussie Pink Floyd namesake and taking on a shorter, more geographically appropriate band name, Brit Floyd.
Indeed, their backstory sounds like the plotline to a rock mockumentary.
Interesting to note, though not at all important, the band's music director and lead guitarist, Damian Darlington, bears an uncanny resemblance to Gilmour, his much older Pink Floyd counterpart. I'm particularly fascinated by their nearly identical patterns of balding. Is it coincidence, or is it the work of a stylist/makeup artist? I suppose the most likely answer is that he was originally hired to play in The Australian Pink Floyd Show based on the resemblance and his ability to play a guitar, and over time, he developed both qualities to a greater and greater extent - I think the same is true for anyone who has ever played the Jerry Garcia role in a Grateful Dead cover band.
Bryan Kolupski, the man in charge of their animation, graphics, video, and photography, obviously plays a central role in the performance, so much so that he's listed as member of the band on their website. He alters the visual displays for every tour, working to both recreate iconic animations from the film version of The Wall while also designing entirely unique sequences. In my review, I said that the flower sequence was my favorite, but in all honesty it was probably equally matched by the animation that accompanied "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" - as described by Kolupski, "The original album art included on the PULSE album [If you're unfamiliar with that image, it's the iris of an eye with a planet (or perhaps more likely a moon) emerging out of its pupil, encircled by a visual representation of the evolutionary stages leading up to the human race; in other words, it's a stunning display of moving color and imagery, and in my opinion, very impressive work on the part of the animator and his collaboration with Darlington.
The other tribute show playing in Indianapolis this week will be performed by Pink Droyd, a group that is admittedly very different from the act above. In fact, aside from the subject of their tribute, the two bands have almost nothing in common. Comprised of musicians originally tapped from Pink Floyd cover bands throughout the Midwest and Boston, they're an Indiana-based band that plays mostly clubs, bars, and local festivals.
That's not to say this showdown is a walk-over for the Brits. I see a number of possible advantages for Pink Droyd: for one, not having such an elaborate, synchronized stage show (and thus not having an enormous overhead) means they have the flexibility to make this particular show a truly unique experience. They can alter the set based on how the audience responds. And that's the second advantage: the venue, and the crowd that will likely be present, are elements that together could make for a more exciting show. Expect a younger crowd and expect some dancing. I should also mention that Droyd does come equipped with lasers, lights, and projectors that are a necessary component of any Pink Floyd tribute.
It's like Arnold Schwarzenegger vs. Lou Ferrigno - there's a clear frontrunner, but I wouldn't right off the underdog quite yet. Let's wait to see how they perform (tonight at the Vogue, 9PM, $10 in advance and $12 at the door) before we make any judgments.
Barring the breakout of a fire that leaves me trampled and engulfed in flames, I think I'll be enjoying myself.