Combining a sub-sect of three alternatively unique, and yet similar in influence bands, Pink Talking Fish took the stage on Saturday, February 1st, at The Teragram Ballroom in Los Angeles, CA. Coming in from Crystal Bay, NV and headed off to Nevada City, CA, the band that wears many hats made a much-appreciated journey to this Downtown Los Angeles venue to jam out with a packed to the gills crowd.
The night began with the opening band, The Alligators. Known for playing voodoo inspired Pigpen songs, the Grateful Dead nod to culture was fully intact with an elaborate tribal dress on the lead singer, Pete “Pen” Carona. With a mention of alligator-wine, the group kicked off the night with the Dead’s “Mr. Charlie” followed by a beaming intro of a “China Cat” teaser leading into a “Hard To Handle” that included a flavor of “Maggie’s Farm”.
The kick drum led the band next from “Hard to Handle” into a very fitting “Alligator”. “Alligator” included tokens of a “The Music Never Stopped” tease. Just can’t get enough of the green-sequin clad group enticing the crowd with over the top antics, singing, “I’m a Hog for You Baby”. To close out their set, a call-and-response “Good Lovin’” was initiated with an “I Know You Rider” tease and an up-the-scales climb on the guitar by Steve Kim.
Headlining the evening was Pink Talking Fish. Combining the likes of Pink Floyd, Talking Heads, and Phish, PTF eased in with Floyd’s “In The Flesh”. With a traditional four-across Phish 1.0 style set up: Richard James (keys) was far left, Cal Kehoe (guitar) next, Eric Gould (bass), then Zack Burwick (drums) on the far right. Taking the sophomore slot of their first set, Phish’s “Alumni Blues” felt chunky and clean leading nicely into “Letter to Jimmy Page”, filled with precise pauses and calculated starts. Here, the Hammond keys shine through the Leslie cabinet.
Like the rotor in its speaker, the band is spinning fast, leading next into the Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer”. Outfitted nicely with an LA Laker’s jacket and the letters “KOBE” written in sharpie on his knuckles, Cal sports a guitar solo with over-arching ambiance paired with Zack on the drums running steady. Skating back into “Alumni Blues” with a “Chalk Dust Torture” tease, the band syncs up to round out the jam.
This leads to a melodic “Astronomy Domine” by Pink Floyd into “(Nothing but) Flowers” by the Talking Heads; cue drum solo. Prior to busting into a solid “Reba”, PTF teases the audience with a few moments of ‘bah, bah, bah, bah’ of “Bathtub Gin”. This makes the audience feel like tossing a handful of glow sticks in the air as “Reba” pays off the butcher in the store. PTF goes Beastie Boys for the last two songs of the set, “Root Down” and “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)”.
Set two begins with an invocation of Phish’s “Split Open and Melt”. Setting the tone with a cerebral second song choice of “Found a Job” by the Talking Heads, Gould drops major bass bombs. The band smoothly transitions into Pink Floyd’s “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” with hints of reverb on the vocals.
For a chill and funky “Llama” by Phish that picks up in tempo as it is played, Josh Eckhaus of The Great Divide sits in on the keys. Next is a sing-a-long with the crowd joining in on the chorus of “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)” by the Talking Heads. The bass drum rides in with its finger on the pulse of “Run Like Hell” by Pink Floyd. Ending set two is “Also Sprach Zarathustra (2001)” filled with a jazzy middle section and overall relaxed feel. Pink Talking Fish goes a different direction in their encore, playing The Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” with angelic vocals by guitarist Cal Kehoe.
Below, check out a gallery of images from the event courtesy of photographer Kendra Muecke.
Pink Talking Fish will take a quick break from their 2020 Winter Tour for a stop at Gem & Jam Festival in Tucson, AZ tonight (2/2) before heading back out on the road. Click here for tickets and more tour information.
Setlist: Pink Talking Fish | The Teragram Ballroom | Los Angeles, CA | 2/1/20
Set One: In The Flesh > Alumni Blues > Letter To Jimmy Page > Psycho Killer > Letter To Jimmy Page > Alumni Blues > Astronomy Domine, (Nothing But) Flowers, Reba > Root Down, (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)
Set Two: Split Open and Melt, Found a Job > Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Llama, This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody), Run Like Hell > Also Sprach Zarathustra
Encore: While My Guitar Gently Weeps
 w/Josh Eckhaus