Review: Think Floyd, MAST Mayflower Studios Southampton

Review: Think Floyd, MAST Mayflower Studios Southampton

Words and pictures by : Peter Nicholson.

Whenever I’m asked to photograph a tribute act, my excitement isn’t always piqued. However, having been a life-long Pink Floyd fan, and remembering seeing Think Floyd on stage about ten years ago, when I was asked to “shoot the show”, I could hardly refuse.

The MAST Mayflower Studios in Southampton is fast becoming one of my favourite venues in the city. With an enviable sound system and an auditorium with a superb vantage point from every seat, it is the envy of most older theatres. It’s large enough to give the full show experience, but small enough to retain it’s intimacy. 

When I arrived, I was given a tour backstage and told that I could go wherever I need during the show. This is always great news for any gig photographer. We normally get to shoot the first three songs from the pit in front of the stage, and that’s it. So, to get some other interesting vantage points was a treat.

When the lights dimmed and the band took to the stage, there was a silence that spread across the room as the lone keyboard note increased in volume before the mournful sound of the inevitable Fender Stratocaster played its first notes of Shine On You Crazy Diamond.

Along with playing the entire album “The Dark Side Of The Moon” in celebration of its 50th anniversary (yes, 50 years!!) we were treated to exceptional renditions of some of the great music of Pink Floyd from across the decades.

Like most Pink Floyd fans, I cringe when bands play “their versions” of these iconic songs, but Think Floyd were true to the originals. As well as outstanding musicianship and an extremely well-rehearsed set list, the thing that struck me was the fastidious attention to detail. From Steve Farmer’s exceptional percussion, which was loyal to every beat, to the haunting keyboards from Kirk McLeod, the entire band were as in complete unity. Richard Morse on lead guitar replicated the changing styles of Floyd across their career with subtlety and skill, while Lewis Hall’s wonderful vocals and bass guitar were the final piece of this very talented foursome.

The icing on this very impressive cake were the guest musicians on the night. No Pink Floyd tribute would be able to do justice to the music without a saxophone and a carefully chosen backing vocalist. Tom Kleyn and Beccy Brennan supplied these skills respectively. Anyone familiar with the music of Pink Floyd will know how vital both roles are, (especially to The Dark Side Of The Moon) and both performed with loyalty to the original music as well as enormous talent. Beccy’s vocal skill on The Great Gig In The Sky brought huge applause before the song had even finished.

As each of the two sets drew to a close, the soundscape was enhanced with the addition of a full laser show. The lights beamed across the auditorium and up into the vaulted roof. Eyes were drawn high as the audience enjoyed Run Like Hell and One Of These Days.

There are many tribute bands vying for your ticket money, but there are very few that will top Think Floyd for sheer musicianship and a stage spectacle. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire evening.


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