Straight from the dark side of the moon to Happy Valley, Pink Floyd tribute band The Machine is set to perform at 8 p.m. Thursday at the State Theatre in State College.
"It's definitely an experience for the hardcore Pink Floyd fan, but even if you're just a mild fan, they're pretty good at converting you," Sales and Marketing Manager Kristy Cyone said. "They're not just doing this for the public Floyd fan - they're doing it for people who've listened to their music forever."
The Machine has forged a 20-year reputation of excellence for its presentation of an "authentic Floydian experience," according to the band's online bio (www.themachinelive.com). Performing a diverse mix of Floyd's extensive 16-album repertoire (complete with faithful renditions of well-known hits, as well as obscure gems), the group utilizes an elaborate light and video show and has sold out large clubs and theaters across North and Central America, Europe and Asia, also appearing at renowned festivals such as Bonnaroo, Riverbend and Germany's Rock of Ages.
The Machine consists of (from left) keyboardist Scott Chasolen, guitarist/vocalist Joe Pascarell, drummer Todd Cohen and bassist Ryan Ball.
As Spin magazine succinctly proclaimed, "The Machine sounds exactly like Pink Floyd."
The concert marks the second time the band, often dubbed "America's Premier Pink Floyd Experience," has performed at the theater.
"The last concert was sold out, and I have a pretty good feeling it's gonna sell out this time, too," Cyone said. "We're able to get them because they're familiar with this area. They know they have a good audience here."
If you go
What: Pink Floyd tribute band The Machine
When: 8 p.m. Thursday
Where: The State Theatre, State College
Admission: $35 for general public, $29 for students
More information: Call 272-0606 or visit www.thestatetheatre.org
The Machine's singer-guitarist Joe Pascarell is looking forward to the band's sophomore show at the venue.
"We love playing theaters, and I have great memories from that place," he said in a phone interview from New York. "We have just enough room to fit all of our equipment there, but it's also intimate enough where we don't feel separate from the audience."
Other group members include drummer Todd Cohen; bassist/vocalist Ryan Ball; keyboardist/ vocalist Scott Chasolen; and saxophonist Norbert Stachel, who toured with ex-Pink Floyd bassist/ vocalist/lyricist Roger Waters on his 2002 "In The Flesh Live" tour.
Pascarell, 48, attributed the band's longevity to "the quality of the music" and to having a passion for their job.
"We genuinely enjoy what we do," he said. "And if you're doing something you really love to do and you can do it for 20 years straight, I think that says something. We've done more than 2,000 shows together, and I like to think that the level of experience and joy we bring comes across when we play.
"It's not enough to say that we sound like Pink Floyd; we want to make people feel it, and that's what makes this unique."
Pascarell said Pink Floyd's music goes over particularly well in college towns.
"It's a thinking person's coming-of-age thing - learning about life," he said. "And that happens in college in just about every way, right? Each generation finds this music, and it resonates with them."
Though his favorite performance songs "come in waves," he cited "Wish You Were Here" and "The Final Cut" as songs that he's consistently loved playing. Though fans can be certain to hear Pink Floyd mega-classics such as "Another Brick In the Wall (Part 2)," "Comfortably Numb" and "Money," they'll also hear esoteric nuggets such as "Julia Dream," "The Nile Song" and "Obscured By Clouds," Pascarell said.
"Our renditions (of the songs) are very faithful to the originals, but if the moment is right, we kind of steer it and improvise a little," he said. "That helps keep it fresh for us."
Those who were there to experience the group's last performance at the State Theatre remember it well.
"The band was amazing. I never thought I'd say this, but they sounded a lot like Pink Floyd," Penn State Ice Rink Greenberg Indoor Sports Complex assistant manager and marketing coordinator Sheri Cramer said. "I was so impressed that I cannot wait for their return."
Cramer has been "planning for months" on seeing the Sept. 10 concert.
"I'm counting the hours," she said. "We're planning another Pink Floyd Late Skate the following night from 10 p.m. until midnight, as we did when the State Theatre ran 'The Dark Side of Oz' last spring."
Pascarell hopes people put aside all preconceived notions they might have of The Machine.
"I'm painfully aware that tribute bands have a certain stigma," he said. "Like, 'If you guys were that good of a band, you'd be doing your own music.' I would just like anyone who might be thinking that to suspend that belief for just one night. I can almost guarantee you, you will not leave disappointed."
Mirror Staff Writer Jimmy Mincin is at 946-7460.