This could be the last concert for a while apparently (yeah, I’ve heard that one before; the band has said that after every gig). This time around on Friday 5th August it will be the first Open Air GibFloyd concert with a captivating self-designed audio-visual experience that will surely blow Floyd fans away. The show will contain a lot of Floyd classics in a three-hour chronological journey incorporating many of the techniques that Pink Floyd used for their live shows, but in a unique GibFloyd way. The set-list has almost doubled in size from twelve to fourteen tracks to a total of 25 Pink Floyd tunes that will leave you comfortably numb in your nostalgia.
GibFloyd have already done three sell-out shows at The Ince’s Hall and headlined the Seaside Stage at the Gibraltar Music Festival last year. The popularity of this band is blowing the scales out of proportion (tickets sold out in a matter of five hours) and they promise to deliver a great show. Jenson Jay Callejon, one of the GibFloyd band members with a finger in every pie in the project, tells me about this year’s concept and expansion to incorporate local bands into a festival.
“Many songs have been added and then chopped from the list (Pigs, Have a Cigar, Mother etc.). This is our concert. We’ll control every aspect of the production. We’ve had weeks of programming going into this and I don’t want to give too much away but we’ve ordered some custom-made bits and pieces from mainland China that will make things really interesting. We have local animator Chris Calderon and one from Germany preparing all the animations for the show as well as some pyrotechnics, lasers.”
Ready for the Show
The concert will be held in the 3,500 capacity Muga area at the back of the Victoria Stadium with doors opening at 4.30pm. Breed 77 lead singer Paul Isola will sing three tracks and act out some thematic scenes with the show also boasting a few added guests as well as other theatrics. GibFloyd will build a slightly smaller than life-sized plane made from a special printer that will crash down on stage in a climactic collision that will likely shock a few fans. The wingspan is around five metres. “We’ll have to build it ourselves from a special printer, but it’s going to be great. In terms of the music, Paul told me that in rehearsals, he felt like he was singing to a backing track, it was that good. When you receive compliments from professional musicians, it really gives you that motivation to achieve what you set out to accomplish. There’s not much more we could do unless we had a much larger budget.”
Gibraltar Loves Floyd
I asked Jenson why Gibraltar was mad about Pink Floyd, similar to an obsession with Reggae music. Is this rooted in some cultural significance in The Rock’s history? I know that when the frontier was closed Gibraltar still tapped into UK radio and had access to rock music in the 60s and 70s, an island in the wilderness with the sweet release of rebellious music caressing its cheeks. “If we start analysing the geo/social-political situation when Pink Floyd was hitting hard; the border was closed, we weren’t in Europe and people didn’t tend to travel that much. The little music that did reach Gibraltar during that period was very niche, so the following on The Rock for this music would have been ten-fold.”
GibFloyd has resurfaced those feelings of isolation and patriotic pride that stirred within Gibraltarians during that period as well as those who just purely love the music and are fans of the GibFloyd touch. The subject matter is profound and conceptual with a thought provoking spin that is incorporated into a hybrid of visual art and music. It touches many a music fan in deep way with track like ‘Wish You Were Here’, ‘Comfortably Numb’, ‘The Wall’ and many others. The music is timeless and GibFloyd is The Rock’s choice to bring it to the present.
The concert is essentially an exhibition of Gibraltarian musical talent coming together on a platform that will prove that there is an appreciation of the local rock music scene. Jenson doesn’t feel that local bands receive enough exposure at the GMF and end up playing during less than enviable timeslots. “Nobody from the record business will hear you if you play at 3pm on a small stage, we need to promote our local talent. The GMF is one of the best platforms for this, but if you don’t support your music locally, how are you going to be recognised internationally?”
The avid music lover wants to generate a ‘musical movement’ (echoing the words of Paul Isola in his recent concert at St Michael’s Cave in front of a packed house that included the Chief Minister). However, he believes that the impetus must come from the public and local bands that should approach the government and sponsors for funding, “that’s why the concert we are putting on should put the focus on Gib music. There could be so much more done to assist our artists to play abroad and spread their name around and this could attract some attention.”
Gibraltar’s rich cultural society continues to grow and a collective movement aiming for the stars could create a shiny diamond or two that could emulate the likes of Albert Hammond. “When I was studying in the Academy of Contemporary Music in Gilford (where Newton Falkner graduated the year before), I was invited to see ‘Stomp’, a dance production where local professional dancer Nathan Conroy was involved. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw Nathan come out on stage and that feeling I had seeing a fellow Gibraltarian who had made it in such a competitive industry was quite incredible. That’s what I want to see on a regular basis.”