Light shows and mistletoe

A Christmas state of mind

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

So far this holiday season, I have decked no halls, I have trimmed zero trees, all of my bells remain unjingled, and I have engaged in no reindeer games.

This is the part where I’m supposed to say that because of life or existential angst or whatever that I’m not feeling the Christmas spirit and I just want to bah humbug the whole holiday.

Slow down, Santa. I am not that kind of elf.

I suffer from no lack of Christmas spirit. I have an abundance of it. I’ve purchased two sparkly Christmas sweaters just this year, for the love of Kris Kringle. I’m so filthy with seasonal goodwill that I have enough for myself and all of the many Scrooges in my life. If you need to borrow a bit, I’ve got some to spare. The sparkly sweaters, however, are off limits.

Like me, the Mount Baker Theatre has gone a little Christmas crazy. For the first time, they’ve adorned the historic tower with lights, and it currently glows green and red. To go with the window dressing, they’ve booked an unprecedented schedule of holiday-related entertainment that doesn’t wrap up until after Dec. 25 has come and gone, proof that Christmas isn’t just a day, it’s a state of mind.

But before we can get into the proper seasonal headspace, we must first take a detour to the weird, over-the-top world created by Pink Floyd.

For exhaustively well-documented reasons, the odds of seeing what remains of Pink Floyd on any stage anywhere ever again are on par with the odds of me summiting Mt. Everest. But any famous band with a legendary larger-than-life live show will surely earn itself some tribute acts, and so it is with Pink Floyd. Of course, not all tribute shows are created equal, and that is especially true when it comes to the particular blend of excellent musicianship and extravagant theatricality embodied by the influential British rockers.

However, Brit Floyd founder Damian Darlington is pretty sure he’s cracked the Pink Floyd code. Although his band has only been around since 2011—a musical millisecond in the timeline of Pink Floyd Tribute bands—he put his show together after having spent 17 years playing and touring with the Australian Pink Floyd Show. And, like most musicians who devote a significant portion of their lives and careers playing the music of others, he came to Pink Floyd much earlier than that, when he was a teenager.

So his tribute-band bona fides will be very much intact when he brings Brit Floyd to the Baker for a Wed., Dec. 6 concert dubbed the “Immersion Tour.” The band will hit all the high points from Dark Side of the Moon, The Wall, Wish You Were Here, and more, paying special attention to the Animals album, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. They’ll play all this classic progressive psychedelic music against a backdrop (although given the size of the spectacle, it’s inaccurate to characterize it as a mere “backdrop”) of a million-dollar light show, complete with a circle screen and—should the size of the Baker allow—a “fairly large” inflatable pig.

After that, you’ll need a little Christmas. Right this very minute.

As mentioned, the Mount Baker Theatre is ready to welcome one and all with at least one dancing Nativity and a few Nutcrackers, some comedy, several seasonal magic tricks and maybe even some mistletoe. If what you seek is a family-friendly concert of holiday favorites, played by the area’s best classical musicians, the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra has you covered with its “Holiday Magic” concert happening Sun., Dec. 10 at the MBT. The annual event features a holiday program by the polished and practiced orchestra, and where vocal assistance is needed, it will be provided by local children’s choirs as well as the Whatcom Chorale. As mentioned, this seasonal soiree is geared toward families, which means the concert will be front-loaded with kid-friendly fare (for those who might not be ready to sit still for the length of the entire performance), and they’ll be treated to hot chocolate, marshmallows and carols played by student musicians at intermission.

Following that Christmas- and cocoa-fueled concert, you’ll be in the exact right mood to don your sparkly sweater, hang some stockings and either make or peruse some wish lists. After all, Christmas isn’t just a holiday—it’s a state of mind.

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