Brighton Magazine

The Brighton Magazine

Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Tuesday 16 April 2019

Review: The Dark Side Of Pink Floyd Brought Attention To Detail & Raucous Solos To Komedia Brighton

Servants of Science founder, Stuart Avis, reports that as Komedia Brighton celebrates its 25th year, a little known fact is that it once played host to a record breaking Pink Floyd event.


Credit Stuart Avis

In 2006 a ten hour Floyd marathon took place at the venue featuring a multitude of musicians. 

Now, almost thirteen years on, the venue once again provided a platform for the iconic band's music via the talents of The Dark Side Of Pink Floyd.

Over the last eight years The Dark Side have been building a strong reputation by working their way up to headlining the mother of all tribute events - Glastonbudget, and almost literally playing in labyrinths of coral caves in the west country.

Armed to the gills with many unique weapons in their arsenal catering for both the musical Gilmour-geeks and the theatrical exploits championed by Roger Waters, The Dark Side of Pink Floyd are a rare proposition. 


Backing vocalist Chris Neal multi-tasks voicing many of the additional soundbites that pepper Floyd's work and, helped along by his day job as a research scientist qualifying him as a bona fide mad professor, effortlessly slips into the role of the schoolmaster from The Wall giving the audience a stern telling off, much to their delight.

Although many of the plethora of Floyd tribute bands can, and do, portray the necessary musicianship to respectably present the sound of Floyd, the weak link is often with the lead vocals. 

More often than not the task is handled by someone with a basic nice voice that can carry a tune which completely misses the power required for a song like Time or the necessary bite for a vitriolic epic like Sheep. 


This is certainly NOT the case here. Lead vocalist and guitarist Mike Neal throws himself into the dual vocal roles as if they were his to sing regardless of the original protagonist. 

The fact he can also emulate Gilmour's distinctive guitar subtleties with ease makes the band's frontman a triple threat, smoothly handling the raucous solos of Time and Money and the softer tones of Echoes and Shine On You Crazy Diamond.

A vast amount of Floyd's catalogue is fairly simple to play on a basic level, every busker worth their salt can sail through a passable Wish You Were Here but, what sets The Dark Side apart from the hoards that have attempted these works is the feel. They nail it! 

Striking a balance between a stage show based on Floyd's final tour for The Division Bell album in 1994 as preserved in 1995's P.U.L.S.E., although slightly pared down for this evening's event due to the confines of the stage at Komedia, blended with the musical feel and genuine sense of a band gelling that the originators mastered during their 1970s peak. 

Bass player Steve Munns muses: "in 'Us And Them', on the bass it's more or less just two notes, I still love playing those two notes after all these years because, you can play those two notes but it's how you play those two notes." 

It's attention to detail like this, or perhaps attention to lack of detail, that sets this troupe of friends and family apart from their contemporaries.

The fact that the band are a mix of family members and long-standing friendships may go some way to explaining why they gel so well, they know each other explicitly on and off the stage which appears to be a priceless asset. 

Further bolstering the authenticity of their sound is Steve Wiltshire on saxophones, who channels original saxophonist Dick Parry to perfection, and the backing vocals of Alison Neal, who has the unenviable task of taking lead on The Great Gig in the Sky

Great Gig can only ever go one of two ways, it will blow your mind or it will make you want to run like hell out of the building, there is no in-between. 

Even Mica Paris murdered the song when guesting with Brighton's latest celebrity property developer David Gilmour and, original songwriter and Floyd keyboard player, Richard Wright in 2006. 

Alison rises to the challenge and belts out a soulful rendition, as this was a standing gig we'll assume the ovation is a given and deserved.

I've been watching Floyd tribute bands for more than a quarter of a century since The Australian Pink Floyd Show graced Brighton's Zap Club in the early 90s. 

The bar has been raised many times but, last Thursday at Komedia Brighton, The Dark Side Of Pink Floyd may well have elevated it fully out of reach.

For more info on The Dark Side Of Pink Floyd please CLICK HERE.

by: Stuart Avis




Share    


Creature Creature can, via the imminent release of their first collection of self-penned tracks, Two Finger Tantrum, be labelled the new flag bearers of rock. The Brighton-based five piece have furrowed a new burrow at the summit of an age old genre. With this debut album they will be looking over their shoulders at the also-rans for many years to come.


Migrate Art, the art organisation fundraising to support displaced and homeless people, has partnered with ten major contemporary artists and illustrators to create limited editions of re-usable, reversible face masks.

Romesh Ranganathan is Straight Outta Crawley, in West Sussex, and on his last nationwide tour, Irrational, he was pondering whether he has an irrational viewpoint on the world or whether that can be attributed to absolutely everyone else.

Returning after four years away, Aidan Knight's penchant for astute observations and personal reflections remains a compelling component of his songwriting.


Young people across the UK will have the chance to find out what it's like to be a record label boss, a film director or a theatre producer through a new podcast series from Lookout that brings together industry professionals from stage, screen and music to share their invaluable insights and experience on how to get into the creative industries.
Credit J. Taylor

Extinction Rebellion Brighton held a socially distanced protest on Hove seafront calling for a bigger public say in how society rebuilds following the coronavirus crisis.
Credit Andrew Gambling

The South Downs National Park photo competition is now open, with a first prize of £250 on offer to the amateur or professional photographer who best captures this year's theme of 'My tranquil haven'.

"In rock music, it's really easy to talk about partying and shagging girls and all that kind of stuff," says Skunk Anansie vocalist Skin. "But for us, what we were singing about had to be deeper, it had to mean something. We had to talk about our experiences and what we were going through."

Throughout COVID-19 isolation, everyone has become aware of the supportive and stimulating power of music. Although many people want to learn, they have no access to musical instruments or tuition - especially with schools and shops currently closed. 
Credit: Andy Sturmey

Barely a year since their debut album Dogrel, Dublin's Fontaines D.C. are set to return with A Hero's Death.

The Rec Rooms is an independent music and comedy venue in Horsham, West Sussex, which was opened by three locals just over eighteen months ago. 

This Saturday, 30th May, Together Co, the Brighton & Hove based charity that exists to end loneliness, is hosting a virtual music festival that will see more than twenty bands perform for free to raise money to help the most vulnerable and isolated.  

Following Brighton Festival's digital programme during lockdown, poet and author Lemn Sissay MBE has confirmed he will return as guest director in 2021. 

Archive search

Search our archives for what's on and gone for the best of this city's theatre music comedy news and much more...







Organising a conference or event in Brighton?
See our Brighton Conference section.
Brighton web design by ...ntd