Lights, Lasers, And Music: The Machine At SARC

SALAMANCA — Coming all the way from New York City to play Salamanca for the second time in four years, the band The Machine sounds just as good as before. The Feb. 2014 show was inside the Events Center and this one was outdoors, and the crowd was much larger for the June 15, 2018, show.

Yes, these musicians are a tribute to the legendary band. So what? The musicianship was solid and the atmosphere was tremendous. With a near-perfect night for outdoor music, The Machine proved why they are one of the preeminent tributes on the road today.

To name each song would be a waste of time. Suffice it to say, they played all the hits you’d expect, and a couple gems the ardent Floydian would hope to hear. Each musician brings a passion and a persona to their parts. With keyboardist, Scott Chasolen, the passion is evident in each and every song. His movements simply showed that he was not just there but in tune with his castle of keyboards surrounding him. To say he loves his job would be an understatement just from the way he moves throughout the night. Guitarist and vocalist, and founding member, Joe Pascarell, mixes his own flavor into the Floyd sound, but not too much. Just enough that this Jerry Garcia-like avatar lets you know that the music is truly live and not some recording coming out of the sound booth. Bassist Ryan Ball was on top of things as well. Anyone in attendance had to be impressed with Tahrah Cohen on the drums. Not too may can keep up with what she can do on that kit. The quartet is truly impressive.

The important thing about this show was truly the outdoor atmosphere, sitting among the Enchanted Mountains with a couple thousand friends, ranging from teens to people in their 60s and 70s, possibly older, all loving that great, timeless music that Pink Floyd has become.

Visually, The Machine is stunning. As the sun finally fell behind the foothills in the distance, lights, lasers, smoke and video told the stories that the songs hold.

I know I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. Since I was not able to ever see the original, this is as close as I will ever get, if they were anything like this, I know they were truly awesome. They had to be. The Machine was great.

On a personal side, this show was something my spirit needed. It was something that I needed to start what is going to be a long journey. I lost my mother a week before this show. While I know that Pink Floyd wasn’t especially her cup of tea, it is a sound, a music, lyrically, that has held meaning for me in so many ways. The melodies of the instruments to the words seem to find that place deep in the soul, touching a person in a way that very few other musicians can. This music was just what I needed to let the emotions finally start to hit and sink in. The music was what I needed to let the walls down.

Call it selfish if you want, but this sound, these musicians, were that piece of solace I needed to start to process everything again, to heal. To feel.

A moment stood out to me. As those first bars of “Learning to Fly” played, I remembered back to those days in seventh grade when a good friend introduced me to Pink Floyd (Thanks, Ian). Then those lyrics took a different meaning. While they are definitely an aviation-themed lyric, my mind was on images of my mom, as she soars “above the planet on a wing and a prayer.”

As is often the message from me, live music is something that each of us should enjoy as often as we are able. Be it a cover band playing the tight confines of a great place like Mojo’s or Willow Bay or a national touring artist making their way through the area, stopping at Seneca Allegany Resort and Casino. When you go and simply enjoy the artistry, letting your mind explore as you listen, emotions you may never have thought were there may come flooding out.

Anyway, the show was another hit for the casino. Several seats were available for the show, but the turnout was still solid for a tribute band … an amazing tribute band.