Galway International Arts Festival - Sunday 23rd July 2017
Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Dublin - Wednesday 26th July 2017
Hammersmith Eventin Apollo, London - Tuesday 1st August 2017
Kelvingrove Bandstand, Glasgow - Thursday 3rd August 2017
Rather than capture our thoughts on each concert individually, this is an overall view across our "mini tour".
|Brian Wilson - London|
|Beat Root Revival - London|
We have seen his previous bands The Lovedays and The Rifle Volunteers, as well as performing as himself at some of the International Pop Overthrow Festivals in Liverpool and London. A few years ago he went over to perform at one of the IPOs in the US and then made his home in Texas, where Beat Root Revival play regularly.
|Beat Root Revival - Glasgow|
For the main part, Andrea played the Bodhran (that's the handheld Irish drum to a layman!) whilst providing some superb vocals and Ben amazed us with his slight of hand on the guitar, loops to give the extra backing, drum pedal to give that extra oomph and also some stunning vocals.
We can hear the influence from Fleetwood Mac in their sound and indeed they included a cover of "Dreams", which Andrea played the tin whistle on which really added their own Beat Root Revival flourish on it to make it their own.
Their own material is pretty fantastic too, and after seeing them play four times, we had some really firm favourites, such as The Cheese Song (officially "Forever"), "Instincts" and "Before It Gets Too Late" and we got their whole back catalogue from the Merch table.
Their signing off song was a tribute to the Beatles, with a cover of "Come Together" which apart from the "shoot me" and the chorus, sounded nothing like the original, it was really refreshing. Eight minutes of Beat Root's take on the Beatles, performed in Glasgow can be seen at the bottom of the blog. Check out Ben's dexterity on the guitar!
The people of Austin are lucky to be able to have the chance to see this pair play frequently in their adopted town. A few of the Brian Wilson fans we caught up with after the gigs commented on how good this duo was and how much they had enjoyed seeing them.
What we really liked was their obvious delight at being asked to cover the support slot for Brian's shows. After years of attending Brian Wilson concerts as fans and being among the audience, to be able to share the stage must have been a dream come true.
|A chance to say hello to Andrea and Ben in Galway|
|Brian Wilson - Galway|
|Matt Jardine hits the falsettos|
Al Jardine covered the car song medley, and "California Saga" along with his leads on some of the Pet Sounds songs, his signature tune being "Sloop John B". He still has a great vocal range and a strong voice which really does add to the shows.
|Al Jardine - London|
|Blondie Chaplin - London|
Blondie Chaplin, a Beach Boy in the early 70's during the Holland era, turned everything psych rock with his Shamen style moves, guitar shredding and strong vocals on "Wild Honey", "Sail On Sailor" and "Feel Flows" - the latter one being a surprise and an absolute treat to hear.
He even sneaked onto stage during some of the other songs to lead the audience into a handclap during "Little Honda", or just shimmy around the stage playing the tambourine like he was casting some kind of magical spell over the show.
During the Dublin gig, we saw him to the side of the stage, out of normal view, dancing wildly to the car songs!!!
|Darian Sahanaja (with Nelson in the background) - Galway|
Darian Sahanaja has really made "Darlin'" his own now, taking the lead vocal at all of the shows and the acapella ending is just superb.
The crowd went wild after each performance and he genuinely appeared to be very humbled at such a great reactions. The man is too modest!
Some other songs outside of the usual hit factory were in the set and sounded great, like "Aren't You Glad", "Salt Lake City" and "Let the Wind Blow" (which was an addition for the London and Glasgow shows).
The second half of the show was the entire "Pet Sounds" album. We have always loved this album and have seen it performed many, many times since over the last fifteen years. We think it is marvellous how it is recreated so authentically on stage, despite the intricacies of the instrumentation and harmonies produced on the record.
|Brian - Dublin|
|The backdrop in Galway - Brian in profile from 1966|
There has been comment in press reveiws about whether Brian should still be touring. His voice is obviously weaker than it was when he started to tour again in the UK in 2002 and at times he sort of speaks/sings and can be a bit breathless. But he really looked comfortable during all of the shows we saw. Being really high up in Dublin, we had the birds eye view and could see he was actually tinkling away on the old Joanna throughout the show too and his demeanor did not suggest he was having to deal with any demons or voices in his head whilst on stage. He smiled a lot and joked around and when he wasn't singing, he was really absorbing everything.
A nod must go to the rest of the band who have not been mentioned above. The rest of the band excelled in all of the shows. They are great on all of the "hits" but they really do shine throughout the whole Pet Sounds set. Without their attention to detail, the show would not work.
|Probyn Gregory - Glasgow|
Multi-instrumentalist Probyn Gregory holds so much of the instrumentation together, switching so smoothly from guitar to trumpet to trombone to theramin to the exquisite French Horn on the opening of "God Only Knows", AND adding backing vocals.
He is amazing to watch and never seems to drop a beat. He must have an extra arm somewhere to cope with the pace of the instrument changes! He is pivotal to the show.
Nelson Bragg is stunning on percussion and fascinating to watch in action, He is like the Tasmanian Devil, creating a whirlwind around himself as he single handedly takes on all of the many pieces of percussion needed to recreate that authentic "Pet Sounds" sound mastered by Brian Wilson and the Wrecking Crew 5o years ago.
|Nelson Bragg - Dublin|
Mike D'Amico has really turned into a great Pet Sounds drummer and is master of the Floor Tom and Bass drum all the way through the rendition of the iconic 1966 album. He is right at home behind the rig, with the Brian Wilson drumhead. As Brian Wilson yells "Let's hear some drums!!!"
|Mike D'Amico - Dublin|
|The Drum off - London|
|Nelson Bragg - Mid "drum off" - London|
|Paul Von Mertens - Galway|
Musical Director, Paul Von Mertens is surrounded by a multitude of wind instruments: flute, oboe, harmonicas and saxophones and has the opportunity for a few sax solos where he takes the spotlight at the front of the stage.
|Nicky Wonder - London|
Nicky "Wonder" Walusko commands not only the lead guitar but also the baritone guitar and his opening on "Pet Sounds", (that song without words), is sublime. The acoustic on "In My Room" shone through.
|Bob Lizik - Glasgow|
|Gary Griffin - Glasgow|
Gary Griffin on keyboards has been a more recent addition to Brian's band, but he fits in well. He can also boast of being in the screen biopic "Love and Mercy" playing one of The Wrecking Crew!
Standing alongside one another, Gary and Darian interact and swap places between two sets of keyboards and vibes, delivering some great vocals and playing the odd tambourine too.
|Gary Griffin and Darian Sahanaja - Dublin|
After Glasgow, the band were racing off to the next venue, and it was left to a small crowd of fans to continue the party until around 3am the next day.
|"See you all next time"|
|The Beeb with Darian and Nicky - Glasgow|
|Minty and Darian - Glasgow|
|The Beeb and Bob Lizik - Dublin|
|Minty with Wondermint Nicky in Dublin|
|The Beeb bumps into Blondie and Nelson around Dublin|
Below is the video of Beat Root Revival doing their take on the Beatles "Come Together".
And here are the band introductions, compered by Paul Von Mertens