Sunday, January 22, 2012

Lennon Orchestra / January 20 / Jackie O's

By: Kristen Spicker, Contributor

“Oh yeah, I’ll tell you something, I think you’ll understand.”

This is how Beatles cover band Lennon Orchestra started their set Friday night to a packed Jackie O’s full of dads and hipsters.

And let me tell you something: It was amazing.

I had many reservations going in. From the $5 cover fee to the idea of a three-hour set and the fact that if this band screws up The Beatles, it’ll be near impossible for any redemption. But Lennon Orchestra has been playing tunes from the Liverpool group for years, and their familiarity showed.

However, before I get too far into this I need to set a quick disclaimer: First, I was in the back of the bar and could barely see the stage. Also, it was loud back there and I might have missed a few technical things that I’ll critique later on. Third, although I like The Beatles I wouldn’t call myself a fan. I don’t know their discography very well. However, my father is a Beatles fan and he sat there all night telling me what changes Lennon Orchestra made and what they left out.

That being said, it was obvious with the first song, “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” that the cover fee was worth it. Lennon Orchestra’s lead vocals were stunning; no matter which member was singing. Unlike The Beatles, the band didn’t have one member sing John Lennon songs and another sing Paul McCartney’s songs, but instead divided it up in their own manner. Joey Hebdo skillfully managed to sing tracks from both vocalists while capturing the true essence of their voices.

Lennon Orchestra’s rendition of “I Me Mine” was one of the best of the entire set. The minute the song started my father sighed and said, “This is a tough one to do.” However, we were both extremely pleased with the outcome. Everything seemed to fit together smoothly. The drums were strong and the vocals were spot on. The transitions between tempos in the track flowed together effortlessly. “I Me Mine” proved that not only did Lennon Orchestra like The Beatles, but that they knew the music as well.

Another stand-out track was “Revolution.” Instead of picking one version to cover, Lennon Orchestra molded the two together. The result was up-tempo with less aggressive guitars. Although the back-up vocals went in and out throughout the song, the lead vocals were steady and strong then entire time.

The band took a break after an hour of playing before launching into “Eleanor Rigby.” Any of the kinks from the first hour had been worked out. The drums were sharper and the harmonies stronger. I was disappointed when the track was over, and would’ve been perfectly happy for the track to go on for another five minutes.

However, the first two hours were just a warm-up compared the to the band’s third time taking stage.

By that point in the night, the majority of the bar had enough drinks in them that Lennon Orchestra could unleash the “classic” Beatles’ tunes. “Hey Jude,” “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” “Across the Universe,” and “All You Need Is Love” all made an appearance. Lennon Orchestra stuck pretty close to the tried-and-true versions, which made audience participation all the easier, with woo girls and belligerent dads taking over the dance floor and providing the band with more back-up vocals than needed.

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