Grateful Dead cover bands and Elvis impersonators are so over. These days, if you wanna mess with a musical god, it's all about reimagining Pink Floyd.
Early last year, the Easy Star All Stars released "Dub Side of the Moon," a reggae version of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon." That release followed in the footsteps of Luther Wright and the Wrongs' hilarious yet surprisingly listenable 2002 release, "Rebuild the Wall," in which Pink Floyd's "The Wall" was turned, note-for-note, into a kind of redneck bluegrass opera.
Meantime, the Pink Floyd Laser Spectacular, a touring laser-light show which features (among other things) a synchronization of "Dark Side of the Moon" with the classic film, "The Wizard of Oz," has become something of a major entertainment phenomenon wherever it goes around the country.
The show - despite not featuring any live performers, and despite not having changed terribly much since its first run in 1986 - consistently sells out concert venues in cities from Dallas to Chicago.
If you know Pink Floyd's music, the soundtrack won't offer any surprises. If you've done acid while listening to Pink Floyd's music and staring at a candle, the visuals might not offer much in the way of surprises, either.
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But if neither of those caveats fit you, then this might just be one of the most surprisingly cool things you attend in Missoula this year. And be assured: If you always thought that "The Wizard of Oz" was a sweet little harmless musical, you're probably in for a big surprise when you see it presented in this light. (Get it? Light? Lasers? Nevermind.)
The Pink Floyd Laser Spectacular will be presented on Friday at the Wilma Theater. The show begins at 8 p.m., and tickets are $20.
DON'T WORRY, BE HEMPY
Sept. 11 might seem a strange day to hold Missoula's annual Hempfest, though I suppose if all those terrorists had just smoked more pot - oops, I mean, worn hemp shirts - they might have, like, just peaced out instead of harshin' everyone's vibe.
Anyway, this Saturday's Hempfest at Caras Park should offer plenty of distractions from the sober associations of that infamous date.
There'll be lotsa music, plenty of munchies, all manner of hemp-based products to buy, and even some rad dudes doing decidedly ill-advised things on bicycles.
Musically, the all-day-and-into-the-night event will feature performances by Silas, Russ Nasset & the Revelators, and Swyl. The night will cap with a performance by the Jude Bowerman Band, a Seattle-based funk act that should make up for its lack of local recognition with a dynamite set of danceable music.
Missoula's ironically named Safety Team will also contribute a non-musical performance of bicycle stunts.
It's all designed to encourage you to think hemp. Which is a good thing on any day of the year. If you don't know why, then you should swing down to Caras Park on Saturday for this free-for-all, it's-all-good festival.
The Jude Bowerman Band will stick around town for a gig on Sunday night at the Top Hat.
DAY OF DARKNESS, MAN IN BLACK
In a weird sort of way, it makes perfect sense that Bob Wire and the Fencemenders will mark Sept. 11 with a tribute to Johnny Cash.
Of course, there's the fact that Cash passed away on Sept. 12 last year. That's the obvious connection.
But beyond that, the dark and inconsolable emotions stirred by Sept. 11 are similar to the spirit of the Man in Black's music.
Another way to look at it is this: If you're already dressed in all-black to commemorate Sept. 11, show up at Sean Kelly's and you will receive "a valuable prize," according to Bob Wire himself.
Bob Wire and the Fencemenders will perform their all-night tribute to Johnny Cash Saturday at Sean Kelly's. Admission, as usual, is two bucks.
DEAD MOON RAWCKING
In its press release, Oregon-based band Dead Moon claims that, "in the ever-changing realm of rock & roll, the music and lifestyle of Dead Moon has remained constant."
Listening to the band's latest CD - or, for that matter, reading the band's press release - you have to at least give Dead Moon points for self-awareness. It's as if the band got stuck somewhere in the formative years of punk rock, and never took another step forward.
They may be delivering their music on CD now, but the muted, monaural, poorly mixed sound of the record, titled "Dead Ahead," is more reminiscent of something that might have been recorded using an old boombox and a $25 Radio Shack microphone.
The band's press release consists of a single paragraph of self-aggrandizement, riddled with spelling mistakes and apparently pecked out on a typewriter.
You can probably figure out what Dead Moon's music sounds like: all smashing drums and overdriven bar-chords and slightly off-key singing.
Funny thing is, this kind of aggressively noisy, intentionally messy, unnecessarily lo-fi stuff was already getting old when Dead Moon was formed in 1987.
But if that's your thing, check 'em out at the Other Side Monday.
BAD PLUS & CRITTERS BUGGIN' SHOW MOVED
For those who missed the fine print in last week's Entertainer, tonight's performance by the Bad Plus and Critters Buggin' has been moved to the University Theater, from its originally planned venue of the Wilma Theater.
For those who missed last week's features on the two bands, this is a don't-miss show featuring two of the coolest progressive jazz groups of today.
I've been kicking myself every day since I missed the Bad Plus when they came to town last year. Don't end up like me, with a sore knee and a sore spot on your backside.
The show, which takes place tonight, Sept. 9, at 8:30 p.m., is an all-ages event, and tickets are $15.
Reach Joe Nickell at 523-5358 or firstname.lastname@example.org.