Fans whirled around the Putnam Den in bewilderment on Saturday night asking questions such as: Are there three bands playing tonight? What are they playing? What is this going to sound like? All these questions were asked in a jovial way as very few could fathom the idea of one band playing the music of Pink Floyd, The Talking Heads and Phish. Everyone was excited to see how this could be done, and they would not be disappointed; Pink Talking Fish delivered a spot on fantasy performance.
The High Peaks Band, a three-piece ensemble out of Saratoga Springs, opened the evening bringing a high energy jammy sound that mixed in lyrics of an alt-country band. The lead vocals of Rick Nelson were complimented wonderfully by Michael Hoffman’s backing harmony. Drummer Jason Vasquez held the band together as they ran through their set. Although there were very few, if any, low points, the highlight of the set was the cover of a moe. classic “She Sends Me,” a rocking tune that not only got the crowd going, but also showed the bands diversity. It was a great surprise during a great set.
The stage was now set to answer everyone’s question: What is this Pink Talking Fish all about? Well, from the onset, they were about tearing it up. Opening with a spacey rendition of “2001,” the audience knew what this band was all about and that they meant business. With the funk vibe of Phish and backing sounds that echoed Pink Floyd, the tone was set for the whole evening. “Life during Wartime” came out of this extended jam as the entire room danced along with the bouncy lyrics. From there, things slowed down a little as the band performed “Have a Cigar.” Keyboardist Rick Umlah took lead vocals on this, hitting all the notes perfectly, resonating Floyd, yet with his own spin to it. Up to this point, the songs were played very well, but it wasn’t until “Possum” that they really shined. Eric Gould, founding member and the only one consistently in the lineup, took over the vocals and guitarist Dave Brunyak, of the Phreaks, showed the crowd his stuff. The lengthy jam was filled with shredding only comparable to Trey Anastasio himself. Brunyak’s sound wasn’t the only thing that was reminiscent of Trey, as he made body movements and gyrations similar to those of the Phish guitarist, but with his own style. He wasn’t copying Trey, he was just simply being Dave, and the crowd ate it up as they fed off his energy and enthusiasm. This continued throughout the set up until the closer “Cross Eyed and Painless.” This was a perfect way to end the first set, a high energy song that left the fans wanting more.
Some may have thought there was no way the first set could be matched, but those people could not have been more wrong. Opening with a raging “Run like Hell,” Zack Burwick’s drums hit hard and heavy which set the atmosphere for the whole room and the whole set. “Run like an Antelope” was as solid and tight as it has ever been played. It seemed as though there was nothing these guys couldn’t do. They were nailing everything they tried and then some, but just like every great band, they were not done outdoing themselves. “In the Flesh,” went into “Mikes Song,” which in and of itself was a treat. The real treat however is when they went back and forth between seven different songs before playing “Weekapaug Groove,” going into “Eclipse,” and ending the set where they started it with “Run like Hell!” This was simply amazing. For the encore the boys had some fun mashing up “Makisupa Policeman” with “Brain Damage,” and closing the night out with“Cities” and “Tweezer Reprise.”
Many bands go out and try to cover other bands, usually falling short. These guys not only successfully covered one band, they covered three! The energy was high from the beginning and it only intensified with each song. The magic of not knowing what was coming next and being pleasantly surprised when it dropped was pure brilliance, brilliance in which this band should continue to do for a long time.
High Peaks Band Set List 4/19/2014
Walk to the Bar, Within Reason, Doesn’t Matter, Rice Petunias, Not on TV, Superman Above, She Sends Me*, Fade to an Echo#
*- moe. cover #- Lively up Yourself teases
Pink Talking Fish Set List 4/19/2014
Set 1: 2001*>Life During Wartime, Have a Cigar>Posum, Slippery People>Sand>Slippery People, Another Brick In the Wall>Psycho Killer> Another Brick In the Wall, You Enjoy Myself>On the Run>You Enjoy Myself**>Crosseyed and Painless
Set 2: Run Like Hell***>Run Like An Antelope, Burning Down The House, In The Flesh>Mike’s Song> Pigs(3 Different Ones)>Houses In Motion>Tweezer>One Of These Days>Lenghtwise>One Of These Days>Once In A Lifetime>Weekapaug Groove>Eclipse>Run Like Hell
Encore: Makisupa Policeman/Brain Damage >
*w/ multiple Pink Floyd teases in the intro
**w/ Mother tease
***w/ Careful With That Axe Eugene tease
****Back and forth between Makisupa and Brain Damage. Brain Damage was reggae style during the verse and classic style during the chorus. “Woke up on 420. Went to Putnam Den. I get to try out my brand new Vapo Pen.”