Pulse: A Tribute to Pink Floyd kicks it up a notch

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Pink Floyd

It’s been 35 years since four boys from England released one of the most influential albums of all time.

This Thursday at Alumni Hall, 12 of Western’s own will pay tribute to Pink Floyd’s legendary 1973 album, Dark Side of the Moon.

The 12-member ensemble " composed of nine music students, two psychology students and a science major " are returning, after a successful debut last year at the Wave to perform the entire 43-minute album as well as songs off The Wall and other Pink Floyd favourites.

“Last year, we were totally thrilled with the amount of people that came out. The energy was incredible,” says Daniel Crystal, a second-year popular music studies student, founder of the tribute band and organizer of ‘Pulse: A Tribute to Pink Floyd.’

In fact, the energy of last year’s sold-out house " which saw 500 people pack the Wave " was so fierce that this year the show has been moved to Alumni Hall to accommodate an audience expected to be more than four times the capacity of the Wave.

Crystal hopes for the same kind of energy this year, but from an audience on a much larger scale.

“Last year we just targeted Western students,” he explains, though the odd older person could be seen in the student-dominated crowd. “This year we’ve targeted all of London.”

Belle Air Music, the well-known London music shop, has played an integral role in helping to spread the word. “There’s even a busload of people coming from Toronto,” Crystal adds.

This means good news for music students " the more people who show up, the more money for their faculty. A student in the relatively new popular music program, Crystal sees firsthand the potential benefits additional funding will have on students.

“Because my program is kind of new, it’s underfunded,” he says. “Last year we gave the money back for scholarships.”

This year, Crystal believes using the money to build and promote the program will help to get more happening within it.

“A lot of equipment [is needed] to really deliver what we’d like as part of the popular music program,” adds Dr. Jay Hodgson, a professor of such courses as Brian Eno and art rock in the 1970s and listening to popular music graduate seminar. According to him, new microphones, software and other equipment will help to move the program into the next level in respect to what the faculty can offer.

Financially, the outcome looks good for Crystal and his music peers. Already, this year’s tribute concert has doubled last year’s donations total of $10,000 and there are hopes of tripling it.

“I think it’s absolutely fantastic,” Hodgson says. “It’s very nice to see students getting involved in that way and that people are still engaging with Pink Floyd’s music.”

After all the years and one-hit-wonders that have followed the Pink Floyd generation, the fact that such an interest in its music still exists speaks volumes about the band’s resonance.

Crystal attributes the band’s long-lasting cultural relevance to the huge influence Pink Floyd had on the baby boomer generation, and in turn, the influence of baby boomer parents on their children.

“There’s such a huge sense of nostalgia [for baby boomers]. And I also know tons of kids that are, like, 10 years old that love this band.”

Hodgson suggests it’s our unchanging human nature and the band’s ability to compose and produce fantastic music that keeps Pink Floyd relevant.

“I think [their music] speaks to a particular part of the maturation process that rock can often neglect, that is, coming to grips with an uncaring and cruel world,” he says. “We all have to come to grips with this cold and uncaring world and Pink Floyd makes it a little more tolerable because you know you’re not alone with your thoughts and worries " and they make it sound so good.”

‘Pulse: A Tribute to Pink Floyd’ is happening Thursday, March 13 at Alumni Hall. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are available at InfoSource or online for $10, or at the door for $12. Check out www.westernpulse.com for details.

The Gazette is giving away two pairs of tickets to ‘Pulse’s A Tribute to Pink Floyd.’ Beginning today at noon, the first two people who come to The Gazette’s office in UCC Room 263 and correctly answer the following trivia question will win a pair of tickets each:

What was the Dark Side of the Moon album’s original title?

Please speak to the Arts & Entertainment section.

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