Named from a lyric in the Pink Floyd song “Have a Cigar,” the six-piece tribute band Which One’s Pink? returns to SOhO Restaurant & Music Club on Sept. 21 to dig into the legendary progressive rock band’s catalogue from the most famous Pink Floyd classics to lesser known album tracks.
In an interview with the News-Press, lead vocalist and guitarist Paul Samarin said he and his band have been performing at the venue for around 15 years, and for their latest performance will cover a great deal of Floyd music history.
Most of the show will focus on Pink Floyd’s “big four” albums from the 1970s: “Dark Side of the Moon,” 1973; “Wish You Were Here,” 1975; “Animals,” 1977; and “The Wall,” 1979. “Most people want to hear stuff from the big four records,” Mr. Samarin said.
Sometimes, he and his bandmates perform those entire albums live, just like Pink Floyd used to do in the ’70s. While he finds it satisfying to play an entire record live from beginning to end, Mr. Samarin said that the SOhO performance will mix songs from different albums to allow the band to play less familiar Pink Floyd songs.
“We usually try to pull out some obscure stuff when we play there,” he said.
That obscure stuff includes “Astronomy Domine” from Pink Floyd’s 1967 debut “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn,” “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun” from 1968’s “A Saucerful of Secrets,” and “Fat Old Sun” from 1970’s “Atom Heart Mother.”
Started around 20 years ago by lead vocalist and guitarist Paul Samarin and keyboard player Larry Isenberg, Which One’s Pink? began as a recreational activity, just playing Pink Floyd songs for fun. As the group learned more songs, it decided to hold a performance, which got the ball rolling on two decades of gigging.
“We booked a show, then booked another show, and it’s been going ever since,” Mr. Samarin said.
Though Mr. Samarin wasn’t a “superfan” of Pink Floyd at the time the band formed, Mr. Isenberg, the other remaining original member, was. As the keyboard player fed Mr. Samarin more and more Floyd albums to listen to, the singer became increasingly immersed in the band’s songs.
At one point when he was unemployed, Mr. Samarin just spent his days listening to Pink Floyd and diving deeper into the band’s music.
“If you’re a deep-thinking person, it’s hard not to get into it,” he said.
As the singer of Which One’s Pink?, Mr. Samarin handles vocal parts originally done by both of Pink Floyd’s co-lead singers, lead guitarist David Gilmour and bassist Roger Waters.
Though he finds Mr. Gilmour’s parts more technically difficult to sing than Mr. Waters’, by hitting the notes and delivering them with the correct diction, he doesn’t find it too hard to sound like either singer. In fact, while he acknowledges that the two singers sounded completely different by the end of the ’70s, he thinks the differences between Mr. Waters’ and Mr. Gilmours’ singing have been overstated.
“If you listen to bootlegs and live performances in the ’70s, there’s not so much difference in their voices,” he said.
When performing live, the band tends to get the biggest audience reactions for classic period Floyd songs like “Wish You Were Here,” “Comfortably Numb,” and “The Great Gig in the Sky,” on which backing vocalist Natalie Azerad sings the soaring, wordless female vocal part.
Mr. Samarin’s personal favorite Floyd song to perform is the 23-minute space rock epic “Echoes” from the “Meddle” album, recorded in 1971 just before “Dark Side of the Moon” kicked off Pink Floyd’s classic period.
“We don’t really do it all that often. I wish we did it more, it’s magical to me,” Mr. Samarin said.
Another favorite is the 17-minute “Dogs” from his favorite Pink Floyd album “Animals.” Mr. Samarin is particularly fond of playing longer Pink Floyd numbers in concert, as demanding an audience listen to its entire runtime is an audacious proposition.
“I like playing long songs like that, because I think it’s a bold move,” he said.Tickets for Which One’s Pink? SOhO performance cost between $18 and $40. They are available online at the venue website www.sohosb.com. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the performance begins at 9 p.m. SOhO Restaurant and Music Club is at 1221 State St.