Pink Talking Fish Torches the Hinge with The Music of Three Great Bands

Pink Talking FIsh at the Hinge, Northampton MA on May 2, 2015.
Pink Talking FIsh at the Hinge, Northampton MA on May 2, 2015. Drummer Zack Berwick and bassist Ben Hoadley.

Pink Talking Fish blew me away last night at the wonderful 2-story Hinge, with me looking up at the band as they torched the place with 1980s hits from Talking Heads and famous jams from Phish like Bathtub Gin, Possum,  and Down with Disease.

Bass player fill-in Ben Hoadley
Bass player fill-in Ben Hoadley

They segued seamlessly to through their three inspirations: Pink Floyd’s Welcome to the Machine, Talking Head’s “Cities”, Big Business and “This must be the place”and many more pounding, classic tunes, then sometimes switching back to a previously-played song.  At one point they melded the ending of a song with that of another, it all worked well musically and the crowd never stopped moving in appreciation.

Clearly though the band is named for three great aforementioned bands,  it’s the Phish connection that rings the strongest for all of the band members.  Keyboardist Richard James has been to 72 shows, guitarist Dave Brunyak, 54. Drummer Zack Berwick plays with a ferocious energy I haven’t  seen in very many bands.  Fill-in bassist Ben Hoadley deftly played a five-string bass. He said that the extra string gives him a whole extra deep octave to plumb.

Pink Talking Fish’s musicians know the nuances and solos in the songs, and like the audience, revere the ceremonies of Phish fandom, like filling in the lyric hole in Bathtub Gin, the jam groove of , and in the second set, the powerful and one-of-a-kind guitar super riff from Pink Floyd’s Have a Cigar.

Pink Talking FishThe tribal deep house funk of the old Talking Heads songs was done with no subtlety, pounding drums and the rhythm driven by Hoadley’s driving hard bass.  Each song, chosen from such iconic bands as the ‘Heads or Floyd, were can’t miss hits. And their affinity for the Grateful Dead’s touring successors, Phish, brought out many of the faithful.

The Hinge’s two-level performance space allows a lot of mobility, nobody is pinned down. Unlike at the Iron Horse, where you sometimes feel like forced to stay in your seat, this more fluid up and down seating made for a more relaxing and  comfortable show.

Find out more about Pink Talking Fish and their East coast tour this spring and summer.