Neil Young tribute act on stage in JJ’s

Renowned Neil Young tribute act, Psychedelic Pill, take to the stage this Saturday night in JJ Harlow’s in Roscommon town. Lead singer, Isaac Tabor, took one for the team and answered Dan Dooner’s questions.

It’s JJ’s this weekend for the band. What did you make of your last visit to the town?

Last time I was in town was with Jukebox Gypsy. We were doing a reunion weekend of Bantry and Roscommon. JJ’s was heaving and it turned into a pretty wild night!

Looking ahead to Saturday, what can the audience expect?

We play a lot of early Neil Young material from the sixties and seventies (Harvest, After the Goldrush, Tonight’s the Night) and then throw in later Crazy Horse material too. Although we’re a tribute band we don’t try to sound exactly like the man himself. It’s our own interpretation; very loud, heavy guitar sounds, lots of jamming and feeling out where the songs want to go. Basically, if you’re into seeing Neil Young jam out on Cowgirl in the Sand or Like A Hurricane then you’ll definitely enjoy the show.

It’s ‘dream gig’ time. Describe the set-up and line-up for your perfect gig.

Oooh, that’s a tough one! Lights dim, a big video projection of a moose running through a valley in Alaska plays over an early Moog synthesizer arrangement of a Bach piece. We start with an acoustic set; a fiddle, mandolin, two acoustic guitars, upright bass and piano. Very intimate songs with big four-part harmonies and big open chords. First set ends, lights dim again, video projection comes on again. This time it’s an eagle diving down to snatch a hare. When he flies back up though, he drops the hare. Just as it hits the ground feedback starts from an electric guitar amp. The electric set starts with heavy electric guitar sounds, an overdriven pedal steel guitar, drums, bass, congos, fender rhodes and trumpet. The night ends on a big jam.

Would you rather headline a sell-out stadium tour or absolutely rock an intimate tour around Europe’s best live music venues?

We’d definitely rather rock an intimate tour. Because there’s so much improvisation in the way we play these songs we really rely on the crowd’s energy to steer us in the right direction. Intimate shows are perfect for that because the crowd is so close and you can feel if they’re into it and they can feel if you’re into it. When it all works it’s incredible. 

Finally, what’s your idea of the perfect weekend?

Two great gigs back to back with plenty of jamming and meeting awesome people in between. There’s a few weekends every year where the crowd is really into it and just pushing you to take it further and make it more psychedelic sounding. When you get two gigs like that in a row it’s pretty amazing!