Tribute bands have sprouted like dandelions in the ‘00s. But The Machine – a Pink Floyd tribute band at the Cabot Theatre Friday Feb. 5 – was formed more than a quarter-century ago. “We were in it before there was a genre called tribute bands,” says co-founder/drummer Tahrah Cohen. “There was no intention on being one of the country’s biggest tribute bands. We were doing it because we loved it. It was a really organic process.”
Cohen was a psychology major in college in 1986, playing covers in a band. They found they were getting a great response when they did Floyd’s “Have a Cigar” and “Comfortably Numb.” The band members changed. Three years later, Cohen and the Machine co-founder Joe Pascarelli got a call from an agent, who, Cohen says, told them, “’If you want to do all Pink Floyd music, we can book you as much as you want.’ So did I want to be in a band full-time, tour and play great music all over the world or finish college?”
Pascarelli took leave from the band for a spell, but rejoined in September 2015. “It’s been exciting and re-energizing for me,” says Cohen. “Every line up change brings something new to
In the Boston area, the Machine has moved up from clubs to theaters, packing the Wilbur Theatre. Cohen – who has also played new music with the art-rock group Antony & the Johnsons – has respect for her Floyd-ian peers – there’s a few Floyds out there, like the Australian Pink Floyd, Brit Floyd and the Classic Albums Live guys – but is proud that The Machine can play “old weird stuff and hits. Other bands play the same set because of the lighting, but we’re not chained to our production. If you want to see musicians you can relate to and enjoy music you know with some twists and turns tastefully thrown in there … that’s why people like us. We never do the same set list, ever. We’re improvisational. We don’t look like ‘em or talk like ‘em. When I see a tribute band that talks in the accent and wears the clothes, well, it’s not my interest.”
What do the living Floyd guys think about it? The Machine doesn’t know, but Cohen says, “Roger Waters’son has seen us many times. Nick Mason knows of us and we have used Rogers Waters ‘sax player on many shows. We know that a Roger is aware of us.” Veteran Floyd producer Bob Ezrin has said, “These guys are great!”
Cohen says that one of the Machine’s first tours stopped in Beverly (Grover’s, 1990) and “it will be quite fun to come back there, but this time to a beautiful theatre. It’s nice to know the band keeps growing and evolving after all this time.”
Starts at 8 pm. Tix: $19-$29.
285 Cabot St., Beverly, 978-927-3100 www.thecabot.org