By Kameron Johnson
I’m used to being the youngest person in the crowd for an oldies cover band, having grown up watching my dad and his group play the classics, so the Summer of Love event at City Winery last night made me feel right at home. Nashville’s own Grammy-nominated WannaBeatles were playing in the upstairs lounge in celebration of the 50th anniversary of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and the 1967 Summer of Love, and a celebration it was! The crowd was energetic, the sound was spot-on, and setlist was
a mixed bag of everything from “Please Please Me” to the “White Album” (though it featured “Sgt. Pepper” pretty heavily). They even included a couple of original tracks by the WannaBeatles, a medley of songs from 1967, and a spoof on “Sound of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel.
The Wannabeatles started when four professional musicians were hired to play background music at a Mexican restaurant. After a few Beatles covers went over well, they asked if they could do a Beatles night, and were given the following answer: “Si, si! Beatles and fajitas!” Ever since then, they’ve been playing the songs of their youth and having fun doing it! All of them are passionate about the Beatles’ work, and like every fan who was old enough to have memories of ‘67, they remember where they were when they first heard the iconic “Sgt. Pepper’s” album. Dennis Scott, the lead vocalist, recalls hanging out with a friend who was a bit older than him and always ahead of him on new music, and hearing the multi-piano chord that rings out at the end of “A Day in the Life” and being absolutely amazed.
Unlike most Beatles cover bands, the WannaBeatles don’t wear mop-top wigs or spend the whole show imitating the group’s mannerisms. They instead focus on the sound (which is a perfect recreation of the Fab Four) and on having a good time, and they don’t take themselves too seriously. At one point during the evening, guitarist Bryan Cumming took his wireless guitar out into the crowd and was running around between tables while he played, and this was after they brought up two women from the crowd to be their on-stage go-go dancers for a song. Even in the relatively small venue, the band brought energy, enthusiasm, and humor to the performance and had the crowd up and dancing by the end of the set.
For more information on The WannaBeatles, go to www.thewannabeatles.com.