Smashing Pumpkins Tribute: The Great Pumpkin
The Smashing Pumpkins have composed some of the most memorable alternative rock songs of the 90’s. The Great Pumpkin replicates those classic songs with the flair and intensity that one would expect at a Pumpkins show.
The Great Pumpkin is based in Orange County, California. Michael Neufeld, Carin Toti and Chris Moore are seasoned, professional musicians who have each toured the world with other projects in their career.The band has performed for thousands of fans at venues including House of Blues Hollywood, House of Blues Las Vegas, House of Blues Anaheim at Disney, House of Blues San Diego, the Viper Room Hollywood, Riverside Municipal Auditorium, the Strawberry Bowl Amphitheater in Garden Grove, the Music Box San Diego, Hard Rock Casino in Lake Tahoe, Vamp’d Las Vegas, and Gaslamp Long Beach. The band has also played numerous private events, as well as fundraisers for organizations including Annual Autism Speaks and Toys for Tots, Thunder on the Lot, ChildHelp.org, the LA sheriffs Slain Officers ride in Long Beach, CA and many more.
Madcap Music Review:
Jim Morrison once said: “A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself.” One might wonder why a quote by the late Doors frontman belongs in an article about a Smashing Pumpkins tribute band, but to truly understand The Great Pumpkin one must understand that it all starts with friendship. Lead singer/guitarist Michael Neufeld, drummer Chris Moore, and bassist Carin Toti share a unique bond. These three fine musicians, who make up The Great Pumpkin, have decades of musical experience under their belts. They have all toured extensively in various bands, know the pressures of being locked in a studio all day, and understand the frustrations that come with being on the road for months at a time, yet when they come together they do it out of a mutual love for each other and the music that they play.
On Wednesday July 2, 2014 The Great Pumpkin took the stage at the House of Blues on Los Angeles’ infamous Sunset Strip. The venue was packed, yet one couldn’t help but wonder what these guys would sound like and if they really could pull off the complex music of The Smashing Pumpkins. Billy Corgan has a voice that is unique and far from easy to duplicate; there’s also the matter of the Pumpkins classic lineup that consisted of four members (two of them guitarists). The Great Pumpkin has three members; how could this possibly work out? As the time drew closer to their set, the audience sat in anticipation unsure of what to expect. Opening up with “Zero”, all questions were answered; these three musicians had done their homework and they sounded great.
Michael Neufeld shredded on his guitar with complete focus and drive, managing to replicate Corgan’s distinct sound without losing key elements of his own voice. Drummer Chris Moore is a beast who can shatter your ears if you’re standing too close to the speakers; even if you’re not he’ll get you as his thunderous drumming reverberates through the floor making your heart skip a few beats. Bassist Carin Toti is every bit the consummate showman, prancing around the stage while holding down the rhythm section and complementing Neufeld with her harmonies and backup vocals.
The crowd clearly felt the sincere emotion that The Great Pumpkin emitted from the stage; a packed house could be found in harmonious unison singing along to songs that have become an integral part of the great American songbook. The highlight of the night was during the song “Landslide.” Michael Neufeld stood alone on the stage with an acoustic guitar giving a performance that left the hairs on your arms standing on end. This was not a solitary performance. This was a statement from the band: one voice speaks for three much like a single wave speaks for the power of the great ocean. All through their set, the members of The Great Pumpkin were full of smiles and energy that only the closest of friends can share. In the end, that is what the night was all about: three friends who also happen to be musicians of the highest caliber getting together to share their love of music. There is nothing esoteric about The Great Pumpkin; they gleefully take the listener on a trip through some of the best music to come out of the ‘90s and Wednesday night’s crowd was more than happy to watch The Great Pumpkin rise as they exceeded expectations and smashed any doubts.