More than a bunch of animals, Pigs is Canada’s most authentic Pink Floyd Tribute Act. Consisting of Josh Szczepanowski, Geoff Howe, Adam Basterfield, Mike Quirke, Jon Baglo, Dave Lawson, Elizabeth Reed and VJ Photon (visuals), the band wants to make people feel like they’re at a Pink Floyd show, back to a time when the band filled stadiums as they toured the world.
According to Szczepanowski, the Dave Gilmour of the group, when the band began in 2008 they didn’t think that it was going to become their lives. Already playing in other bands, the opportunity arose and they realized that it was somthing special.
“We happened to play a couple of Pink Floyd songs, it turned out they sounded pretty good, and it just went from there.”
What might have otherwise been a momentary lapse of reason has quickly become the band’s entire lives. While they started slowly, Szczepanowski notes that the first show they did sold out, which was exciting and stressful.
What is it that draws not only the band to the music, but the audiences that are spending their money to see the show? Szczepanowski believes it’s the universal appeal of the music.
“Pink Floyd has always been a band that writes songs that everybody can recognize and understand, kind of all the big picture stuff, it really connects to just about everybody. Any age group, or any music lover of any genre will find something that they like.”
To be an authentic Pink Floyd tribute, you need to do more than just play the music, the band’s concerts were very visual. Pigs is naturally doing the same, with a giant screen and laser effects. They have gone so far as to find original footage that was used in concert to use in concert, and recreate footage where they could not find the original elements.
“Basically if you come to the show you can more or less watch TV for two hours if you want,” joked Szczepanowski.
Putting the show together is a challenge, just by the nature of the band. Half of the show is big hits, Szczepanowski said, with more experimental and deeper cuts making up the second half, and the mix they’ve selected is a bit of everything. The challenge of creating a setlist is that it is a band that was not known for brevity.
“You can’t really do a Pink Floyd show without doing Money or Comfortably Numb or stuff like that. But since the songs are so long, it turns out that playing all those hit songs is literally half the run time.”
Each band member correlates to one of the original band members, playing what the original member did on each song.
“It’s almost like doing a musical, you have a very specific role in the band.”
In doing that, there might be a few surprises for the audience, as sometimes what happened live was a bit different from what happened on record.
“People who aren’t really in depth fans are probably surprised at the amount of the show that our Roger [Waters] spends playing guitar. Live, Roger played acoustic and electric guitar quite a lot, probably about half the show.”
The quest for authenticity goes right down to the equipment used, even down to the cables used to connect everything.
“Of course, the original members of the band are millionaires, so it can be a little hard to keep up with them,” said Szczepanowski.
Spending so much time as Pink Floyd can naturally have a bit of a spillover into other parts of their lives.
“In fact, it’s a little bit difficult for us when we play our original sets or in other bands it’s a little bit hard not to sound like them,” Szczepanowski said.
Pigs will be at the Anne Portnuff Theatre on May 25. Tickets are available at Welcome Home Gift Shop or the Yorkton Arts Council.