In the wild world of tribute bands, standard operating procedure is to pick a group that you revere, learn their material inside out, come up with an engaging and entertaining stage presentation and attract the original band’s hardcore followers.
Pink Talking Fish has taken a slightly different tack. As their on-the-nose name would indicate, the Boston-based quartet is actually a hybrid tribute act, offering their unique translations of the catalogs of Pink Floyd, Talking Heads and Phish.
Taking the tribute concept a step further, Pink Talking Fish not only honors the sonic stylings of its favorite bands, it finds connective threads between seemingly disparate songs and weaves them together for fascinating new combinations. Pink Floyd’s “On the Run” gets dropped into the center of Phish’s “You Enjoy Myself,” while Floyd’s “Run Like Hell,” the Talking Heads’ “Making Flippy Floppy” and Phish’s “Piper” get strung together in a lengthy jam mash-up.
Pink Talking Fish also hits more traditional tribute notes — two years ago, the band performed four entire Pink Floyd albums (Animals, Dark Side of the Moon, Meddle and Wish You Were Here) over three consecutive concerts.
Pink Talking Fish was conceived by bassist Eric Gould after he played his final shows with his longtime Electronica outfit Particle in 2014. Pink Talking Fish originally operated as a rotating cast of whoever was available at any given time, but Gould solidified the lineup after seeing Phish tributers The Phreaks, recruiting drummer Zack Burwick and guitarist Dave Brunyak full-time. The arrival of keyboardist Richard James expanded the band’s sonic range. Earlier this year, Pink Talking Fish announced they had amicably parted ways with Brunyak, who left the band to pursue an original music direction with his new project, DB, and new guitarist Cal Kehoe was subsequently introduced.
Pink Talking Fish recently announced it would be doing a few Beastie Boys tribute shows in December — with DJ Logic filling the Mix Master Mike role — so perhaps they’ll be adding “Boys” to the end of their moniker at some point in the near future.
PTF plays Ludlow Garage on Saturday, Dec. 7. Ticket/more show info: ludlowgaragecincinnati.com.