The Fab Faux at BHP: Super-Sonic Beatling
I can’t write about this yet. I’m still processing the impact of experiencing The Fab Faux’s performance of Beatles music last night at Boarding House Park in the Lowell Summer Music Series. Late Friday, after the Flecktones concert I wrote that the Series is becoming a “Can you top this?” operation. For me, The Fab Faux topped the “this” of Fleckdom, as fantastic as the banjo guru and his masterful mates were on Friday. The Fab Faux turned Lowell’s cultural village green into the church of JPG&R and gave the congregation a glimpse of heaven.
It is high art. It is deep pop. It was something new for most of us. In literary art, or any art for that matter, one of the main commandments is “Make It New.” There was a lot of new last night if you consider that most of us had never witnessed live the playing of “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” and “Tomorrow Never Knows” and many other immortal compositions. This material comes out of a northern English kids’ rock club turned Gothic cathedral turned off-road juke joint turned soaring skycraper turned galactic audio laboratory. And it got packaged for mass consumption. And it is not going away. The two surviving Beatles fill performance venues worldwide. Check on the web for the tour schedules of Paul and Ringo. The faithful flock to the personal appearances. This is history as it happens. The Fab Faux gave us a very enjoyable history lesson last night amid the pulsing colored lights on the pergola stage set against the Front Range of the Boott Cotton Mills.
I can’t write about this yet. I’ll get back to you.
If you are missing these peak musical experiences at Boarding House Park, you should consider looking at the schedule for the rest of the summer. Pick something that looks good, and pack your blanket and folding chair.
2 Responses to The Fab Faux at BHP: Super-Sonic Beatling
I don’t mean to leave out comments about the transcendent musicianship of all the band members, but if I mention everyone, this post will take all Sunday morning to write. I’ll leave some room for Paul and others who were in the audience for this incredible show to fill out the overall report.
I went to see/hear Will Lee playing the bass line to “You Never Give Me Your Money” start to finish as part of the side two medley on Abbey Road. It was a tune that my brother and I played along with our band “The Homer Bradford Blues Band” circa 1971-1972. Fab Faux did play this song and much of Abbey Road for that matter; and iit was a glorious experience. Sir McCartney is one of the great bass players of all time, and I can think of no one as qualified to emulate his great work on that piece as Will.
Will was in perpetual motion the whole night, moving about like a cat and covering every corner of the stage; jumping ala Freddie and the Dreamers style, high kicking, egging his fellow band members on; who by the way responded gleefully, all smiling; thoroughly connected and cohesive as a group. It’s rare to see a band so in tune with each other, so generous in passing on the spotlight like a baton in a 5 man medley event.
The band played two sets of trance enducing Beatles music, better than the Beatles were actually capable of playing live. The band knew this … they do it because they can!
There was a personal high point for me … well maybe two. The first was the last song of the first set, “I Am the Walrus”. The sign of a great song is one that takes you on a magic carpet ride, rising higher and higher and climaxing at the finish. I still have chills thinking about the Fab Faux rendition, all musicians pulsating like a well oiled machine, animated … almost cartoonish. Amazing … incredible.
The second was during Hey Jude, which they played at the end of the night. The band members were totally immersed in the crowd whether you were in the front row or the last row on French St., with Will Lee prancing about, making eye contact with as many people as he could, tossing guitar picks after or during every song.
I was about 30 feet from the stage during the song, and everyone was on their feet singing “nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah Hey Jude” when something hit me in the chest. I looked on the ground and it was a shiny pearl guitar pick with the logo “The Fab Faux:” on the front and the five band members full size head to toe with arms stretched in various positions. Their website adress was at the top. Thanks Will, you made my night! Than you Fab Faux, the show was unforgettable!
George: Thanks for helping to describe the concert last night. You have an insider’s sense of the musicianship, which offers a distinctive point of view. I agree that “Walrus” was a high point. Thinking about it all this morning, it struck me that so many of the high points were “John songs” like “Walrus,” “Mr. Kite,” “Yer Blues,” “Tomorrow Never Knows,” and others, espeically from post-Beatles performance years. I’m a major-league admirer of McCartney, and we are lucky to have him still in play. Those fortunate enough can see him perform many of the songs we heard last night. But the loss of John Lennon as a productive artist for the past 31 years is difficult to calculate. What he left us suggests the magnitude of what was lost.