The words "tribute" and "cover" strike fear and loathing into the hearts of musicians everywhere. But what if a band discovers that the one or two covers they perform of the Rolling Stones, or the Beatles or, in the case of Pigs on the Wing, Pink Floyd, cause a little excitement and garner them some positive feedback from fans? Is it really so wrong of them to parlay that into a full show? The members of the Portland-based band, Oxcart don't think so.
I asked guitarist/vocalist Jason Baker why Oxcart would choose to do Pink Floyd covers instead of original tunes. "Well, not instead exactly," he said. "We're doing both now, but the Floyd thing ... it's a lot of work to learn the material, we've added a couple of members, so that's mostly what we're doing now. But Oxcart is still around. We play shows here and there. Sometimes we even open for ourselves. It's cool," he said. In response to my outburst of laughter, he added, "Weird, but cool. The Floyd thing has been a lot of fun and we've seen a larger audience draw than with the original stuff. Plus, it's good exposure for Oxcart. We started with Dark Side of the Moon. We did that as Oxcart thinking it would be a one-time thing. We do a lot of The Wall, some from Animals, some from Wish You Were Here, some really early Floyd," Baker said. "We can do a couple of long sets. We were up in Moscow recently at John's Alley and did a couple of long sets there. This time in Boise, we'll be sharing the bill with Farmdog, so we'll probably just do one long set."
Are their Portland fans responding well to the change? "We don't want to burn it out by playing [as Pigs on the Wing] over and over in Portland or in any one place. We're still trying to get into bigger markets, but in Portland, it's gone really, really well ... everywhere we've played, it's gone over well. We've gone from being one of literally thousands of rock bands in Portland to something people are interested in."
August 4, with Farmdog performing a Grateful Dead tribute set, 8 p.m., $5. The Bouquet, 1010 W. Main St., 208-345-6605.