When I heard the news that Rockville, MD’s Beatles reggae tribute band, Yellow Dubmarine, would be calling it quits for a while, I decided to finally go and see them on Saturday to find out what all of the hubbub was about. Although many Beatles fans will hear of an act like this and immediately think “gimmick, novelty,” etc, their debut album, Abbey Dub (produced by Kenny Liner of the Bridge) is quite impressive. I walked into the 8×10 in Fed Hill with an open mind and warily high expectations.
By the time the lights dimmed, the crowd was buzzing with anticipation. At the time, I had no idea how much fun it was going to be to know all of the words to all of these songs (or interpretations of songs) that I was hearing for the first time. As if they could sense that the crowd would explode if they weren’t offered some sort of immediate release, the band opened with a dubbed out “I Want You (She’s So Heavy),” during which the entire audience sang at the top of their lungs. You know you’re in a musical crowd when there are equally as many people taking the 3rd and the 5th as there are taking the melody.
The energy was high throughout the whole set, which went on for nearly three hours with a brief intermission. Up-beat, bouncy versions of songs like “Eleanor Rigby” and “Hey Jude” and slow, vibey takes on “Dear Prudence” and “Come Together” kept the crowd on their toes and eager with anticipation, especially first-timers and former skeptics. A couple of high points in their set were a seamlessly arranged Abbey Road medley and the guest appearance of trumpeter Danny Davis, who nailed the oh-so-pertinent trumpet solo in Penny Lane, The crowd roared with excitement and utter glee.
An artist must tread lightly when embarking on an ambitious and inherently flashy musical project like Yellow Dubmarine. That being said, the seven piece band was incredibly professional, respectful, tasteful, and modest. The musicianship displayed by each member was top-notch and the amount of restraint it must have taken during certain songs is commendable. I left this show in awe of what an incredible band The Beatles were, and that is exactly how one should be leaving a tribute concert.