Brett Barest on Upstate Music: Floyd & the Dead

  • By cvbizz
  • July 1, 2019
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Scrolling through the weekend music calendar, a couple of big names jumped off the screen at me – Grateful Dead and Pink Floyd. No, they are not playing the Upstate this weekend, but pretty significant tributes to them are.

For the Dead’s part, my friends at Quest Brewing Company will host not one but two Jerry Garcia/Grateful Dead tribute shows in the coming days. LOZ Band’s Dr. Luv Beatz will host an open jam session at the brewery Thursday night while the West End String Band and Grateful Brothers will be on hand for a Jerry Garcia Birthday Celebration Saturday afternoon into the evening. The latter event will also be raising money for Project Host so, please, come feeling charitable.

As for Pink Floyd, they will make an Upstate appearance in the form of Brit Floyd at the Peace Center. Touted as “the world’s greatest Pink Floyd tribute show”, Brit Floyd will be on hand to celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Wall, arguably one of the greatest albums ever recorded. I say this realizing that we could argue The Wall vs. Dark Side of the Moon until the end of time, which is why I used words like “arguably” and “one of”.

While I found it interesting that two such iconic bands are being celebrated in the Upstate in the same weekend, I really started thinking about my earliest memories of each of them. Pink Floyd might be the first band I remember recognizing on my father’s stereo and I have distinct memories of five year old me’s disappointment at not being able to go to see Pink Floyd – The Wall in theaters with my dad, as it was my understanding that it was a cartoon. As much as he did me a favor leaving me home on that trip, I do still remember laying awake in fear the night that he played “One Of These Days” for me the first time, and I go right back to that moment when that song plays to this day.

Dad was not much of a Dead Head back than, however, so my exposure to them was delayed until “Touch of Grey” came out in 1987 which, at that point, was just kind of a novelty to me. It was a catchy song with dancing skeletons so of course I liked it, but MTV’s steady stream of music videos (imagine that) kept me fed with plenty of other things to watch and listen to so the Dead never had much hold on me. It’s funny to me that as much as I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard about Jerry Garcia’s passing in 1995 (pressing shirts at Lane’s Cleaners before starting college), it was not until much later in life that I gained an actual appreciation for his music.

I also started thinking about how different these two bands were and how they made their mark on the music scene in such dramatically different ways over a nearly identical time frame. The two bands are so uniquely distinct that they defy comparison but one could probably compare listening to Pink Floyd as a virtual acid trip while Grateful Dead might be most appreciated on actual acid… or so I am told, of course.

Finally, I realized how much writing about music influences my actual listening habits. This morning I glanced at the CD’s overflowing the center console of my car and they include Greenville’s own Darby Wilcox, The Excons, My Girl, My Whiskey, & Me, Revelator, Gastonia’s The Menders, and Charleston’s Little Stranger and Dallas Baker & Friends. If I wanted to add a Pink Floyd or Grateful Dead album to the mix, I would not know where to put them.

That said, I do need to mix some of the classics back into my life. Maybe that starts with some live Dead recordings, some Wizard of Oz paired with Dark Side of the Moon, or actually going out to catch one of these tribute shows. It is a long weekend and I just might do it all.

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