Music Scene / Performance
The Who, the Yardbirds and the Beatles...if you weren't around to see these bands live, this is probably as close as you'll get to the true experience. With three great tribute bands, talented and tireless go-go dancers and classic archival footage of legendary musicians, the Uptown in Oakland played host to what can only be described as a happening and a real feast for the senses.
The Hoo opened the evening, covering well-known as well as more obscure hits from the Who, followed by the RaveUps whose covers of The Yardbirds' classics were spot on.
... And in the end, the Sun Kings conjured up the Beatles due in no small part to Drew Harrison's likeness to John Lennon, in both look and sound. Chris Solberg of the RaveUps said the idea for this series of Red Coat revivals began simply with "a bunch of old guys who wanted to play music," most of whom have been a part of the musical landscape in any number of capacities since the '60s, some even earlier, and all of whom have a heart full of soul.
This was the third invasion of its kind with, we hope, many more to come. Stepping into the Uptown night club was a trip back in time to a 1960s British music hall, I guess, having nothing but film clips and questionable witness accounts to go by. The vibe fell somewhere between Austin Powers and Sergeant Pepper, "Laugh-In" and a "sit-in" with 60s images from both the mods and the hippies.
The nostalgia was fueled by J.O.E.'s light show and the suave stylings of Emcee Daniel Swan. The Uptown is an ideal venue for this kind of show. You can step into the Glass Onion of the stage area with the music, dancing and light show, you can step outside for some cool air and a little people-watching (which, at a show where many followed the "come as you were" theme, was good stuff) or you can drink it all in at the bar, with a pint or a stinger or whatever they drink across the Pond.
The crowd that made the scene that night ranged in age from early twenties to "none of your business" and filled the dance floor back to the outdoor patio. And, in case you thought you had to wait until you were inside for the invasion to begin, there was a bobby posted at the door, ready to handle any delinquent behavior... luckily, the Kids were all right.
Sharon Reid is the Music Scene's club culture reporter.
Bands Relive 60's British Invasion
It may be more than 40 years since The Beatles spearheaded the British Invasion, but those mind-blowing years were relived last Saturday evening, at the new Uptown Nightclub in Oakland on Telegraph Avenue.
Anyone in the near sold-out crowd could easily have imagined themselves in swinging London in 1966, as three local tribute bands-The Hoo, The RaveUps and The Sun Kings-recreated the music of The Who, The Yardbirds and The Beatles, respectively.
The Hoo took the stage first, and flanked by go-go dancers wrapped in skin-tight Union Jack miniskirts, blasted into "I Can't Explain", the traditional opening number for the real Who.
The ear-shattering set was full of classics: "My Generation", "The Kids Are Alright", "My Wife", and "Baba O'Riley". All played with passion and energy. A special tip of the cymbals to drummer Steve Nelson, who did an amazing job playing Keith Moon's parts on what appeared to be a very similar drum kit.
The RaveUps came on next, and lead by former Santana guitarist, Chris Solberg and Joe Satriani producer John Cuniberti (drums), were dead on. With your eyes closed it was like being in the room this Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and/or Jimmy Page, the three world-class guitarists who rotated through The Yardbirds.
Though I was looking forward to The Hoo and Sun Kings, it was The RaveUps who stole the show. Being familiar with every note of every Who and Beatles song, it was a delight to hear some new material though original Yardbirds material-from The RaveUps,
The Yardbirds never achieved the notoriety of the other British legends, so although The RaveUps did "Heart Full of Soul," "The Train Kept A-Rollin" and "For Your Love," it was great hearing unfamiliar cuts such as "The Nazi Are Blue" (Jeff Beck's only vocal ... ever), "I'm Not Talking" and "Here ‘Tis."
The set from The Sun Kings was also a nice surprise.
Beatles' cover bands typically stick to the tried-and-true hits, while this quintet included plenty of tracks you don't often hear. "Happiness Is A Warm Gun," "The Ballad of John and Yoko" and "Nowhere Man sounded fab squeezed between chart toppers "Revolution," "Day Tripper" and "Strawberry Fields Forever."