Twist and Shout: the Beatles Festival is coming

The fabulous Beatle Boys.
The fabulous Beatle Boys.

WE love them, yeah, yeah, yeah and next weekend we get our fix of the Fab Four with the Port Macquarie Beatles Festival.

The Beatle Boys - John Kater (Paul McCartney), Christopher Frazer (John Lennon), Nando Pettinato (Ringo Starr), Rod Ald (George Harrison) - present Psychedelic Happenings on Friday, February 12 at Laurieton United Services Club at 8pm.

It's a dress-up if you dare kind of night with hits from The Beatles' experimental period, says Kanter.

"There'll be I am the Walrus, Got to Get You into my Life and songs they used other instruments on, which we have."

On Saturday, it's The Beatle Boys Rock 'n' Roll Dance Party at Panthers Port Macquarie from 8pm.

"We'll keep it as continuous as possible so people can keep it on the dance floor."

Kanter says they will also take the time on Saturday to enjoy the music at the Glasshouse Forecourt which starts at 10am and rocks on until 3pm.

"We will have some time probably on Saturday to check out the other bands playing and what else is happening.

"I'm a fan as much as the next person."

And an exclusive set of love songs will be part of the fun at the Valentine's Day breakfast at Rose's Vineyard on Sunday morning at 8am.

The tribute band members, who range in age from late 30s to mid 40s, have been playing together as The Beatle Boys for about six years.

"We had all been playing in other tribute bands so when we decided to get together we started small, getting to know each other.

"It's all about the chemistry and I'm proud of the way we have come together," he says, not excusing the pun.

He attributes the magic of their combination to all of them sharing a similar love of The Beatles.

"We have a reverence as to how they put the music together and we like to keep that vibe going.

Kanter says he thinks fans of The Beatles love the range of songs and the charisma they exuded.

"We do our best to be carefree and are happy to be a little absurd.

As to how close they keep to the gestures and stage persona of Liverpool's biggest ever music exports, Kanter says: "I grew up with it, because I loved it".

"We also studied a lot of vision to deliberately pick up the way they moved and played. I am naturally left-handed, so that was lucky," he says.

The costumes they have had made by companies that specialise in replicas.

"We have the suits from the 1964 tour of Australia and the camel coloured suits from Shea Stadium [New York the following year].

But they are not as regimental in wearing duplicate costumes and made a concerted effort not to go down the Sgt Pepper path.

Kanter says their sound is more like a live show than a replica of the recorded version of The Beatles catalogue.

"In their later period the recordings were pretty relaxed so we add a little more heat.

"We respect the recordings but on stage we break out a bit. Going hard and live gives it [the show] a more genuine feel."

The audience will hear some banter in the familiar Liverpudlian accent.

"Whatever helps us to stay in the feel of The Beatles the better. Chris has an outrageous John Lennon accent and gets everybody laughing."

The lads all have their hair styled to the era which also helps the audience relive the experiences of their youth.

But Kanter has also been surprised by the number of young people who come to their concerts and lip sync all the words.

"It strengthens my belief that a good song is a good song no matter what and translates beyond generations.

"People keep coming back because they love the music and the writing; the songs have incredible hooks and are crafted wonderfully.

Kanter says he always enjoys coming up to "that part of the world".

"It's total heaven."

Tickets to the club shows are $25 and available at the venues.


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