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The Mad Buggers perform Pink Floyd’s The Wall (Wednesdays, through February 16th, Terminal Bar, Minneapolis)
The Mad Buggers perform Pink Floyd's The Wall in its entirety Wednesday's at the Terminal Bar through February 16th.

By David de Young

If a group of musicians told you they planned to form a band that would play Pink Floyd’s The Wall note for note in its entirety, you might tell them they were buggery mad. Despite the obvious challenges of undertaking such a task, a group of musicians, fittingly calling themselves The Mad Buggers have been performing the 1979 Roger Waters masterpiece Wednesday nights at the Terminal Bar.

The show, which runs through February 16th, is the apparent brain child of Derek (Iron Lung) Johnson, who fronts the band while Greg Nesbit provides lead vocal on some of the songs and plays bass. Tim Hall provides scintillating lead guitar on some tracks and moody yet bright acoustic tones on others, while Greg Reierson plays drums and queues the rather extensive collection of tape effects, some samples culled from original Wall recording. The group is rounded out by Jennifer J. Holt and Sandy Ship who provide the critical and soulful female backup vocals.

Okay, so this is not the most energizing show in town. Pink Floyd, especially the brooding sentiments of The Wall, can be depressing enough without listening while steeping yourself in Leinenkugels at this dimly lit Northeast Minneapolis music bar. But it’s worth checking out, especially if you are a Pink Floyd fan or if you didn’t get enough covers out of your system at last week’s cover band contest at First Avenue (which took place the same night I caught the Mad Buggers at the Terminal.)

What impressed me most was how seriously the band took the presentation of the material. Seriousness of certain types is not always a good thing--there were of course the requisite laughs that come with the territory when any professional not everything always goes as planned-- but what I’m talking about is the reverent regard for the original material. With material as familiar as this, musical parody is oh so easy a trap to fall into, so it was refreshing to see a group of musicians handily avoid that pitfall and present the material as Rogers initially intended it, i.e. dead serious and somewhat (forgivably) self-indulgent. They even managed to hold it together while re-enacting the “No-ooh, do it again,” and “How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?” parts of Another Brick in the Wall live. You can’t help but leave the Mad Buggers’ show feeling a little more introspective than you came in.