It’s hard to underestimate the deep impression live rock and roll makes on a young person through attending their first flurry of live concert experiences. These experiences have a profound impact on setting our future musical tastes and on our outlook and lifestyle.
English singer, Ian Hunter, once summed up the difficulty of trying to explain the mystery of rock and roll addiction when he sang, ‘it mesmerizes, and I can’t explain the feeling for the sights before the sound…’
It’s just a simple fact – some concerts are literally instantly life-changing. Just ask those who were at the legendary Sex Pistols gig in Manchester in 1976 and who then went on to form their own bands and created a whole new era of rock music.
For local musician, Tara Carragher, vocalist and guitarist with The Ladybeatles, her eyes were opened when, as an impressionable teen, she had a similar experience when she attended, along with Kylie Porter, the sister of one her friends, a live performance by the Australian Beatles tribute band, The Fab Four.
After the show Porter had one of those lightbulb moments.
Carragher explains, ‘Kylie asked me, ‘Do you want to start a Beatles band, but all girls?’ And I said, ‘Well, I don’t play anything and I don’t sing’, and she said, ‘Well neither do I but it’ll be fine!’ Three months later we were playing our first gig! So it moved pretty quickly!’
That was fifteen years ago, and the LadyBeatles have been together for much longer than The Beatles ever were and have managed to retain the same line-up throughout that time. Carragher has taken on the role of John Lennon in the group, singing and playing rhythm guitar. Porter assumed the Paul McCartney role, singing and playing bass, while also joining these two founding members were Sally Hansen, the George Harrison of the group, and Yahna Pal who claimed Ringo Starr’s drumstool.
For their 2019 Fringe shows at The Wheatsheaf, the band have decided that a fifth Beatle, Pearl, will also sit in on keyboards.
The band’s show will be jammed full of Beatles classics, a two-hour slice of full on LadyBeatlemania, with no room, however, for any anecdotal stories, dramatized moments from Beatle history or other spoken components.
‘Trying to cram all of the songs you want to hear into two sets worth is a job enough without doing any dramatic stuff. We do, however, have a kid friendly show on Sunday March 3, where we’ll play things like Yellow Submarine and more kid friendly songs but again we’ll try and keep it largely just music and have fun! We’re not really setting out to be The Beatles – we’re just paying our respects to them!
And their songs are really short, so you can cram a lot of two and a half – three minute songs into two sets.’
In an era where revisionist historians have been poring over the popular culture of the fairly recent past and reassessing the messages conveyed in film and music, some of the songs in The Beatles catalogue have drawn some fierce criticism. I asked Carragher whether she found any of the Fabs’ songs were lyrically unsuitable to be sung by female vocalists.
‘Well, we don’t change any of the lyrics really. You know, we sing She Loves You and all that. I think we just happily ignore that issue. I would be more irritated myself if I saw a band changing the [original] lyrics. I don’t think you can change Beatles lyrics, I think they are kind of stuck as they are. I guess there are some that are a little bit less female friendly to sing, so song selection is a good thing to think hard about.’
Carragher explains that the selection of material does not really follow any preconceived chronological overview, and the criteria for a song to make the set is purely one of ‘feel’.
‘It’s generally just a matter of, ‘Yeah, I think this would work.’ And then we try it. And if it does work then it’s in. But songs like I Am The Walrus, and other production-heavy songs, they just wouldn’t work live. We try to play everything live – no backing tracks, or anything like that. So that’s probably the biggest criteria – if you can play it live with the band, well, then it’s in.’
The LadyBeatles have performed at the Adelaide Fringe before, but not since their triumphant shows of 2016.
Carragher believes that Fringe shows have their own distinct qualities.
‘You can put on more of a show, and people are excited, and you get to dress up a bit and carry on a bit more. You can [also] promote it further out, and it’s a big event, so they tend to sell out which is nice.
There’s that heightened sense of this time of the year in Adelaide where everything’s buzzing. There’s just a different vibe in the air and people are ready to have fun – and not just on the weekend. People actually get out of the house!’
The band’s 2019 Fringe shows will be performed at The Wheatsheaf in Thebarton, a credible rock venue where Carragher and the band already have a strong link with the place, having performed there on many occasions in the past.
‘Each of the band members have our own original music [projects] going on. I’m a singer-songwriter. Kylie was in a band called The Villenettes, and Sally was in a band called Submerge. And Sally was actually the sound engineer at The Wheaty and still does that every now and then, so it’s very familiar turf for us.’
The band have considered the idea of taking their show to other Festivals but have not yet made that leap.
‘We’ve toyed with the idea of heading to the Liverpool Beatles festival. They put on a big festival there – but it might just be a pipe dream.’
Who knows? Maybe a fanatically positive sold-out crowd at each of their 2019 Fringe shows might convince them to make that dream a reality sometime in the near future?
All Together Now! With The LadyBeatles will run for three evening performances on Friday March 1, Saturday March 2 & Sunday March 3 at The Wheatsheaf Hotel, 38 George Street, Thebarton.
A Sunday ‘kids show’ matinee has also been scheduled for 3pm on March 3.
Tickets are available here: All Together Now! With The LadyBeatles
The Upside News is offering the chance to snare one double pass to All Together Now! With The LadyBeatles to our readers. The show on offer is the Sunday, March 3 (6pm) performance.
Just leave a response in the comment section below giving your name the title of your favourite Beatles song. If your choice is the first one received that corresponds with one on our list of favourites, then you win!
Entrants must live in Adelaide and be over the age of 18. Please do not enter the competition unless you are available to attend the event.