Not that long ago, I caught The Classic Double at Camp and Furnace playing the whole of LA Woman by The Doors, and Led Zeppelin IV – two of my favourite albums by two of my favourite bands, who I sadly never got to see live. I’m generally agnostic about cover bands, and didn’t quite know what to expect; but, like the rest of the crowd, I had a great night.
Now I know how good they can be, so tonight my expectations are higher for this latest gig, where they’ll be playing Radiohead’s OK Computer, and Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd – both clearly stone-cold classics. I have a more direct comparator for half of the evening, as I’ve seen Radiohead live more than once, and own pretty much every piece of music they’ve ever released. I’m less well-versed with Pink Floyd, beyond their more famous tracks, but know enough of both bands’ music to know how hard they’ll be to cover well.
Are The Classic Double up to the job?
In a word – yes.
Or in a few more words – they knock both albums out of the park.
The juxtaposition of the two albums brings out unexpected resonances – Subterranean Homesick Alien could almost be a Pink Floyd track, for example; and as Ben Schleifer pointed out in ‘Speak to Me’: The Legacy of Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon, both albums share a common theme, in which “the creative individual loses the ability to function in the [modern] world”.
During the first half of the evening, if you close your eyes, it could almost be Radiohead themselves up on stage. In fact, I’d go as far as to say, if Thom and co ever what to get a sense of what it’s like to go to a Radiohead gig, they could do a lot worse than go and see this line-up; though they would need to be aware that The Classic Double might play Creep, despite it being from 1993’s Pablo Honey – a song the band apparently can no longer stand. A shame, as it’s a real crowd-pleaser here.
I’m similarly happy to hear House of Cards from Radiohead’s 2007 album In Rainbows – one of my favourite songs by any band, ever, and proof this outfit can handle the subtle just as well as the more musically up-front numbers.
If there’s a feeling of the band almost strapping themselves in for their assault on the lofty peaks of Paranoid Android, that’s okay too; Radiohead do the same, and I’m not sure there’s any other approach that would work.
After a short break, the Dark Side of the Moon half of the evening carries on in the same vein – brilliant, at times challenging music, played with outstanding musicianship, and a clear love of the source material. As well as nailing the stuff I know (including Breathe, Time, and Money, for example), they do such a good job on the numbers less familiar to me (but clearly favourites of the crowd), I’m now not just more of a Classic Double fan, I’m more of a Pink Floyd fan too.
I assume, as earlier, they pepper the set with some well-chosen tracks from other albums, though due to my own relative ignorance of the band’s output, I only recognise Comfortably Numb. No matter: it’s all good.
I sometimes single out individuals in reviews, but here there’s no point, as everyone is on top form; so instead, I’ll list them all, with thanks for a wonderful evening’s entertainment.
Adam Goldberg – drums.
Sam Madison – vocals / guitar (OK Computer).
Ross Durie – guitar / lap steel.
Joel Goldberg – bass.
Dixie Day – vocals.
Samantha Victoria Johnson – saxophone.
Rob Vincent – vocals (Dark Side of the Moon).
Joseph Wright – keyboards.
Luke Heague – guitar.
Dave Goldberg – Hammond organ.
A word too for the venue, and the crowd that they and the band attract. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such a range of ages in one place, all enjoying the atmosphere, the vibe, and most of all, the music.
Overall Rating: A Mediocre ★★★ As far as pantomimes go, this adult-targeted Scouse panto, with its slew of jokes and an impressive