By Anne M. Raso
HEY BULLDOGS, BEATLES FANS AND FOLKS WHO JUST LIKE GREAT CLASSIC ROCK PLAYED BY A ROCK LEGEND: GET READY TO HEAR BEATLES COVERS LIKE YOU HAVE NEVER HEARD THEM BEFORE!
For those of you who weren’t around for The Scotch Plainsmen’s first show at the City Winery back on January 5th of this year, you don’t know what you missed. The group, formed by Smithereens’ lead singer/guitarist/songwriter Pat DiNizio puts an interesting spin on Beatles’ tunes. Wait a second–that is putting it too mildly. Their versions of Beatles’ songs are actually more interesting to listen to than the originals (at least in this writer’s opinion).
Rhythm guitarist Sam Fairley talks about the group’s inception: “The band was the brainchild of Pat, born out of his love for The Beatles. Bruce Pike (bass), Tommy Frangione (rhythm guitar) and I had played with Pat at his October 2008 Living Room Concert (in his house in Scotch Plains, NJ) and he asked us if we would be interested in playing in a Beatles tribute band as a side project. We all jumped at the chance. We have a great time and thoroughly enjoy playing the music with Pat.”
While the January show at the City Winery was comprised of Let It Be played in sequence with a Beatles free-for-all or latter day “mix and match” of material towards the end of the set, the Plainsmens’ show on August 22nd will focus on Beatles’ movie music. The band received a lot of accolades for their Beatles’ movie music set played at DiNizio’s Annual Picnic And Fan Jam held each Memorial Day Weekend in (where else?) Scotch Plains! Bassist Pike (AKA “The Rev”) missed that show due to a heart attack and broken rib and we are happy to say that he is back and ready to rock. We here at this website don’t know about what “bonus” Beatles tracks will be added towards the end of the upcoming City Winery set, but we’re always up for a surprise! Besides DiNizio (who only sings at these shows even though he both sings and plays rhythm guitar with The Smithereens), the aforementioned rhythm guitarists Fairley and Frangione and bassist Pike, keyboardist David Solomon, lead guitarist Tim Donald and drummer Bill Truluck round out the band–and each gets to do a little singing and solos of other sorts!
DiNizio explains, “Our last set at the City Winery was very well received but centered on just one particular phase of the Beatles story–the very end. By performing songs from all of their movies, we can really dip into all phases of their career, including the initial innocence of Beatlemania. Moving ahead to the later years, you can really hear how the music progressed on songs like ‘I Am The Walrus’ and even ‘Hey Bulldog.’ Even the songs from their last film, where the band was breaking up, went on to become classics with proven staying power.”
“That was the thing about the Beatles,” says DiNizio. “Even when they were tossed into what could have been a quick cash-in on their initial fame (referring to their first movie, A Hard Day’s Night) they wrote songs and turned in performances that delivered what’s been dubbed ‘the Citizen Kane of jukebox musicals.'”
The general seating tickets to this not-to-be-missed show are only $12 in advance but be aware that for the $35 ticket you get a wine pairing included. Since this is the City Winery, there are wines actually matched to certain Beatles’ songs that the Scotch Plainsmen play and if we recall correctly, we got at least six glasses last time! (Of course, if you don’t like wine, you can order scotch, LOL, but there are no specials despite the group’s name!) The food is also great but we can dedicate an entire posting to that! To purchase advanced tickets, go to www.citywinery.com. The address of the City Winery is 155 Varick Street between Spring and Vandam Streets, phone is (212) 608-0555. For further info, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Showtime is at 8PM but doors open at 6PM
(Photo of Pat Dinizio And Bruce Pike from January 5th, 2011 City Winery show by Anne Raso; shot of Pat DiNizio courtesy Pat DiNizio and City Winery.)