Wednesday, October 21, 2015
A New Kind of Beatles Cover Band: AfterFab
Posted By Pam On Wednesday, October 21, 2015
We've all watched a Beatles cover band at some point. They run the gamut from those with members that don't dress up like the Fabs (Beatlejuice) to the ones that go all-out with costumes and Liverpudlian accents emulating John, Paul, George, and Ringo during each phase of the Beatles' career (The Cast of Beatlemania.)
But there's a new Beatles tribute band on the scene -- at least in the New England area -- that is currently the only one of its kind in the U.S.: AfterFab. As you may have guessed by the name, AfterFab covers only the Beatles' solo hits after they broke up in 1970. And I have to say, after seeing them play at the Chelmsford Center of the Arts in Chelmsford, Massachusetts last weekend, I totally fell in love with them. If you're tired of seeing too many guys in shaggy wigs singing "Love Me Do" too many times, then AfterFab is the band for you! (I have nothing against "Love Me Do" or any of the Beatles' songs, by the way; just grabbing one out of thin air as a common example.)
To be honest, I was in a little bit of a blah mood on Saturday and not all that psyched about going for some reason. I had bought a ticket and posted the show as an event with my Meetup group during the summer, then later found out an annual Octoberfest dinner I really love attending was slated for the same night. I was missing out on bratwurst, spaetzle, and apple strudel.
That all changed as soon as AfterFab hit the stage and immediately launched into John Lennon's "Nobody Told Me" followed by "Power to the People" and the Paul McCartney-composed Badfinger hit, "Come and Get It." For the next two hours they shook the center's intimate performance hall with a trip through the Beatles' solo careers accompanied by a slideshow that flashed picture sleeves from notable singles as well as introspective quotes from the Beatles themselves on their post-Fab careers.
It was such a delight because it's not that often you get to hear John Lennon and George Harrison gems like "Whatever Gets You Through the Night", "My Sweet Lord", "Watching the Wheels", "What Is Life," "Imagine", "Devil's Radio" and others get played live. A highlight for me was hearing the band's rendition of George's bittersweet tribute to John, "All Those Years Ago." It sounded exactly and perfectly like the album version.
They also rocked through Paul's "Hi Hi Hi", one of my favorite Macca songs of all time that always gets my hormones pumping notably because of its sexiness and suggestive lyrics. At this point it took all of my restraint not to get up and dance to this song. Another nicely executed Macca cover was "Let 'Em In," complete with the opening doorbell effect and synthesizers nicely substituting for the flute and horn parts. This was in addition, of course, to Paul's standards typically played during his tours such as "Band on the Run," "Junior's Farm", "My Love", "Silly Love Songs", "Jet", and "Live and Let Die."
Have I mentioned that a Traveling Wilburys song was performed as well? The band did a fine job on "Handle With Care." Ringo Starr fans, however, may have been wanting more than three hits: "Photograph", "Back Off Bugaloo", and "It Don't Come Easy." This was explained by the band reporting that they were hearing requests for more Harrison songs for their set list (no offense to Ringo, but as a Harrison girl I couldn't complain.)
The group is comprised of six members: lead singer Jon Paquin, guitarist and keyboardist Adam Boc (also the band's founder), lead guitarist Lauren Passarelli, drummer Tom Evans, bassist Mike Bishop, and keyboardist Bryan Eyberg. Paquin looked like he literally stepped out of the 1970s with his flowing hair and white shirt and pants. He reminded me a bit of Jim Morrison and brought so much energy onto the stage, leaping and clearly enjoying himself while mastering the vocals of each composition, without feeling the need to actually imitate each Beatle's voice.
But my favorite band member was Passarelli. When she's not blowing people away playing the tricky guitar high notes and effects that Harrison composed, she's a music professor at Berkeley and actually used to play George in an earlier Beatles tribute band.
The only bad thing one can say about AfterFab is their touring base is currently limited to the New England area, and mostly my home state of Massachusetts. But maybe -- to borrow a McCartney lyric -- with a little luck (and publicity) they'll expand their shows to other areas of the U.S.
I can't wait to see them again at some point. And dare I say it -- it was even more enjoyable than an Octoberfest meal.
Here's a promotional clip of the band from their site but be forewarned -- they sound even better in person. You can visit their site for more info on upcoming performances.