If you're a fan of Beatles music, and you get the chance, check out the Sun Kings sometime. They're a northern California Beatles tribute band that does a pretty bang-up job of covering the Fab Four's tunes.
I haven't seen many tribute bands before - but the ones I've seen have all fallen short of their goal - which is, I think, to sound as much like the original as possible. And if you can't duplicate the sound well, then maybe you should do something equally entertaining - but above all, be good.
These guys were good. One thing that I respected about the group is that they don't even pretend to look like the Beatles. First of all, there were five of them, and I don't remember any of the Beatles being bald. But the look was completely unimportant when the band started. Because the sound was there. In spades.
Maybe they figured it took five people to make as much music as the Beatles made. Their vocals were spot on, with perfect harmonies. Every instrument (and there were a lot of them) was played to perfection. Overall perfection could have probably been achieved if they'd brought their own sound mixer. They were in a small venue at Hutchins Street Square and used the Square's mixer. Doesn't always work.
Being in the small venue was fun though. Tables were set up with six or eight people at them. The bar was stocked with a nice selection of local wines, beers and Patrón. We sat with two couples who we didn't know, but soon learned that the fun was in the back of the room where people were dancing.
And there was a lot of dancing. Patrón + Beatles Music = Dancing. And singing. The band played a wide range of songs from the long, impressive library of Beatles tunes. And we were lucky enough to hear a lot of early work with high energy. You don't hear 'All Together Now,' 'Yellow Submarine,' or 'Penny Lane' often enough. They did them all well.
Confusing to me was this: How can anyone sit at a table and listen to high-energy music being played well and not move??? I noticed table after table of people sitting . . . still! I don't understand this and wish someone would explain it to me. They weren't dead (I don't think) because they'd move around to get a drink or take a bathroom break. But they didn't tap their feet or nod their heads or . . . anything!! I supposed they were enjoying the show, but it's physically impossible for me to sit still when good music is being played. I also think it's bad for your health, but haven't seen the actual studies to back this statement up. And it can't be a generational thing because most of the people at the show were in the same age bracket - baby boomers listening to music they know well.
Except, not everybody knew the music that well. I have to mention a gentleman at our table who was pleasant enough to talk to, there with his wife and a couple that was a bit older than all of us. This man (who looked just like Larry David) claimed to know about Beatles music.
Understand something here - I was with my brother, who knows a whole lot about music - lots of kinds of music, including the Beatles. I know about half of what he knows about music. The Guy-Who-Looked-Like-Larry-David was wrong about virtually everything he said.
1. He claimed that the Beatles' first #1 hit in the U.S. was 'She Loves You Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah.' Wrong on two counts.
2. When I said I liked the early stuff like the Rubber Soul album, with 'Norwegian Wood' being one of my favorites, G.W.L.L.L.D. said "Oh, they didn't write that song. They stole it from the Beach Boys." Really? Wrong.
3. Could not figure out why they called themselves the Sun Kings. Maybe our Beatles expert has never listened to Abbey Road.
But you can't waste your breath on people like this when there is good music being played, Patrón to drink and dancing to be done.
In the back of the room where the fun happens.
Learn more about the Sun Kings here.