DATE: Saturday 3rd October 2009
VENUE: The Canal Suite, Lakeside Complex, Frimley Green, Surrey
COST: Included in £25 cost of convention ticket
RATING: As close to the original sound that you’ll ever get
The Beached Boys provided the musical entertainment at this year’s Beach Boys STOMP convention, kicking off at 12.30 with the classic opener “California Girls”, swiftly followed with two of the early surfing songs, “Surfin’” and Brian Wilson’s first composition, “Surfer Girl”. That was a terrific start, with great vocals, tight harmonies and great sound coming from the guitars, drums and keyboard. The next song, “Catch A Wave” was exceptional, with the 2 members of the band sharing the lead sounding superb (Alan and George aka Bruce Johnston & Carl Wilson). Band introductions led into “Little Deuce Coupe”, then “
A switch around on stage allowed the drummer (Paul, aka Dennis Wilson) to come out from behind his drum kit and take the lead on “Then I Kissed Her” before taking his seat back behind the kit for a fantastic version of “
Next up was one of our favourite tracks from the ‘Today’ album, “Good To My Baby” which flowed seamlessly into “Darlin’”.
The next song is a bit of a rarity when it comes to a Beach Boys playlist, let alone the set list of a tribute band - “Aren’t You Glad” from the ‘Wild Honey’ album. This type of surprise always goes down well with a Beach Boys fan-base in the audience, and there was no exception to that today.
Then it was back to the earlier part of the Beach Boys’ career, with “409” and “Sloop John B” followed by another treat for the audience, “Breakaway”. This is not an easy song to perform and in the past Brian Wilson’s band has even struggled to get it right. The lead (John, aka Alan Jardine) today on this song was suffering a bit from the effects of a cold and sore throat, but still coped admirably with the lead vocal and the backing harmonies were absolutely spot on.
The last two songs of the first set, “God Only Knows” and “I Get Around” were very much appreciated by the audience and as the band left the stage, we were left to comment on just how good they had sounded.
The Beached Boys took to the stage again 3 hours later and enhanced their reputation as being the best Beach Boys tribute band on the circuit with their 2nd set. Most of the audience did a double take when they saw the lead vocalist (Kevin, aka Mike Love) – he had donned a peaked cap and looked alarmingly like Mike Love! Kicking off with yet another ‘treat’ with “You’re Welcome” and then a totally terrific version of “Little Girl I Once Knew” before leading into one of the big crowd pleasers, “Fun, Fun,Fun”. By this point the rhythm guitarist (John) had switched to a lovely acoustic ovation which really stood out during “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” and “I Can Hear Music” (which had yet another terrific lead vocal). The lead guitarist (George) also switched to an Ovation acoustic guitar and we were delighted with 2 tracks from the ‘Party’ album, “
Back to the electric guitars and the band performed another highlight of the afternoon, “Little Honda”, and then back to the surfing roots with, “Surfin’ Safari” and “Surfin’ USA” which had some of the audience up and dancing.
Next up was “Car Crazy Cutie” another song you would not expect to be in a tribute band’s set list. This sounded really fresh and seemed to go down well with the fans. “Cottonfields” was really enhanced with the cotton-picking guitar licks throughout the song, and then the audience was truly spoiled with a “Til I Die” which just oozed harmony. “Sail On Sailor” has been a regular addition to the Beached Boys set list, and they do the song justice.
“Dance, Dance, Dance” led straight into “Do You Wanna Dance” and then the Beached Boys asked if we wanted to “Do It Again”, which was another highlight for us. “Help Me Rhonda” was the penultimate song, the final one being the infamous “Good Vibrations”.
Calls for more from the audience brought the band back to the mics, and with instruments set aside, our ears were filled with a luscious a cappella version of “Heroes & Villains”. The audience’s appreciation for this terrific tribute band was still reverberating around the hall long after the band had left the stage.
That was the 3rd time, this year that we have seen this terrific Beach Boys tribute band. They are not your usual run of the mill tribute band – they are fans themselves, and really endeavour to re-create the vocal arrangements and harmonies that Brian Wilson produced on record. Today, you could have closed your eyes and really believed you were listening to the real thing.
If they were a traditional tribute band, covering only the big hits, we would quickly become bored but the variety of their repertoire (whether their audience are casual or die-hard Beach Boys fans) always means that we get something that surprises us, whether it’s a new song added or a slightly different vocal arrangement. They certainly deserve the accolade of being the best Beach Boys tribute band on the circuit, and if they make an appearance near your home town, make sure you get along to see them.