Great ‘Wall’ 

Filmmaker Mike Walsh latched onto Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” when he was 3 years old. His much older brother would come home stoned and play the 1979 double album on Walsh’s Fisher- Price record player.

“It gave me nightmares and, ever since then, I’ve been fascinated with Pink Floyd,” he said.

Being about isolation and abandonment, the record struck a chord with generations of malcontents, as did the subsequent 1982 film adaptation. To celebrate that timeless appeal, a group of metro musicians and artists will stage a live performance of “The Wall” on Saturday as a fundraiser for World Neighbors.

Operating as The Surrogate Band, the collective features members of The Venditos, Kite Flying Robot, Unmarked Cars and Metal Nutz. On the tech side, two projectors and an assortment of actors and stagehands will ensure the visual element holds up to fans’ lofty standards.

“That’s my biggest fear. I’ve lost sleep over it,” said Walsh. “Even coming close to meeting their expectations of what this music is terrifies me.”

To prepare, he was sent as a “forward observer” to Roger Waters’ recent tour, where the former Pink Floyd front man performed the album. Walsh returned even more intimidated.

“Oh, crap, how are we going to do this?” guitarist Justin Hogan recalled saying. “It’ll have to be a budget ‘Wall,’ but it’ll still be in the spirit of it.”

Hogan started working on the project a year and a half ago, when an impromptu rehearsal with his former band, Unmarked Cars, and members of The Venditos shifted to a rehashing of songs from “The Wall.”

“‘Wow, what if we just covered the whole thing?’” Hogan asked himself. “I started asking around to see who might be interested, then word came back to me that I was doing it.”

Aside from a few tweaks, the goal is to perform the material as faithfully as possible.

“We wanted to play it as intended,” Walsh said. “We don’t have the credence of The Flaming Lips, who could play ‘The Dark Side of the Moon,’ but make it their own.”

Come Saturday, as supplies last, attendees dressed in black pants and black shirts will receive a specially printed armband designed to re-create the film’s jackbooted army of disciples.

Hogan believes that the album continues to resonate with younger audiences because its themes of alienation and oppression are just as relevant today as three decades ago.

“You have Occupy Wall Street, the Arab Spring — there are all these things going on, and people are seeing these walls in their lives and they are tired of it,” he said. “So, it will be monumental ... on a budget.”

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Charles Martin

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