Hardcore Pink Floyd fans are exactly that – deeply, sometimes scarily knowledgeable about their favorite band and sticklers for accuracy and respect in reproducing its music. And from a show that is at all Pink Floyd-related, these folks demand a show. The true Floyd experience, after all, is about more than the sounds but rather a complete sensory envelopment. You will rarely find a crappy bar cover band, for instance, tackling much Floyd material beyond the occasional "Wish You Were Here" sing-along.
So it isn't without stringent fan approval that the Machine, a New York-based quartet, has been anointed the top American Floyd tribute act. (For the top international honor, it'd have to contend with Australian Pink Floyd, who also played in South Florida in recent months). Refreshingly, unlike other tribute acts, the individual musicians don't pretend to be the real Roger Waters and company. Instead, they focus on broadening their audiences' experience of their source material.
With nearly 20 years of practice, the band has now mastered, with near-flawless technical accuracy, virtually all of the band's catalog, including its earliest albums and even rare solo material by the Floydian Syd Barrett. But it's no robotic run-through – like early-'70s Floyd, the Machine also embraces extensive onstage improvisation. And like later Floyd, elaborate light shows and stage settings abound.
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