Monday, June 29, 2009


We invited friends to join us for a night of nostalgia and fun - "In Canto d'Estate" was hosting a Beatles tribute band, The Beaters! There are lots and lots of Beatles tribute bands. Some dress in clothes from various eras - the collarless jackets for the early years and Sgt. Pepper regalia for the later years. They use vintage instruments, or replicas - the Hofner bass, the Ludwig drums. They've learned how to stand and move just like the Beatles, and often assume Liverpudlian accents and joke just like the Beatles did. Some bands even have a left-handed "Paul" to make the illusion complete. For better or worse though, the one thing all these bands have in common is a love of the Beatles and their music. And of course the fans they attract share this love.

Naturally some bands are more proficient musicians than others, and some manage to capture the movements and gestures better than others. Some are better singers than others. No matter at what level each band performs, most fans like me aren't too demanding. We're just happy to hear the songs that brought us so much joy, and happy to spend time with others who share our passion for the Beatles. If we can squint our eyes and somehow believe that we really are seeing the Beatles once again, well, that's great, but really, we're all aware that those days are gone and are just happy to re-live that time if only briefly.

I'm writing all this so that you know I'm not super-critical of Beatles tribute bands, even those that aren't the greatest singers or musicians. I'm happy that others share my love of the Beatles and their music, and I appreciate their efforts. Which brings us to Saturday night's performance by an Italian band called The Beaters.

Yes, I believe that these guys really are Beatles fans. I appreciate their use of vintage instruments, and the way they introduced each song, in the style of the Beatles. As the band jumped into it's first number I was happily singing along, tapping my toes and smiling with joy. After a few songs though, a puzzled look came over my face. At first I wasn't sure that I was hearing correctly, but after several songs it became more and more apparent: they didn't know all the words!!!! Sometimes they would sing the wrong words, while other times it seemed as if they just sort of hummed/mumbled their way through, much as you or I might do when we've forgotten the words to a song.

After the first few numbers I was thinking to myself that what this band really needed to do was to go back and listen, really LISTEN to the original recordings, just to get the pronunciations correct. I realized that these guys weren't native English speakers, and I thought if they would listen to the recordings again, that might help. Once I realized that they were getting the words wrong I once again tried to excuse them because they're not native English speakers. But then I thought about how I like to listen to music in a foreign language, especiall if I want to learn the words. I listen to the music while I'm reading the lyrics. That's how I found out that "Let's Forget About The Money" was really "Let's Forget About Domani"!

Anyway, the show was a lot of fun, but I was really disappointed that these guys who supposedly love the Beatles wouldn't take the time or effort to learn the words and the correct pronunciations. Yes, maybe it is a mean thing to say, but in my opinion, when you bill yourselves as a Beatles tribute band, you've raised the stakes just a little. A Beatles tribute band sets itself to a higher standard than a band who just covers a few Beatles songs. A Beatles tribute band, even a foreign-speaking one, should really want to take the time to listen to the songs, to get the words right and learn the correct pronunciations!

 All the videos from the various bands who performed at our festa, "In Canto d'Estate" are on OUR YouTube PAGE. The Beaters have their own YouTube page HERE.

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