Monday, 11 March 2013

Official! – The Dung Beatles conquer Aylesbury!

Review by Terry Bloxham

The Dung Beatles – Charity Tribute Band performing the Beatles’ Greatest Hits
Limelight Theatre, Queen’s Park Arts Centre

Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire
1st March 2013

I have seen a few tribute bands in my day but I admit that the Dung Beatles really did impress me!

 First of all, let me say that the Dung Beatles are not your average Beatles tribute band – no costumes, no wigs (well, the bass player was sporting one) and they didn’t play just the most well-known Beatles songs.  Musically, that was so nice and refreshing. This is a band that plays Beatles songs because they like, no, LOVE, Beatles songs – no gimmicks, no tricks – just pure, unadulterated fun.

 The first set was acoustic, the second a Dylanesque ‘gone electric’. I honestly have to admit that ‘If I Needed Someone’ brought a few tears to my eyes and then ecstatic foot-tapping with their 'It’s Getting Better’.  The crowd loved ‘Something’ and then cheered with the opening chords of ‘Magical Mystery Tour’.

I was particularly impressed by their choice of songs. They played some of the ‘less common’ hits with great vigour and enthusiasm. ‘I’m Only Sleeping’ and a boisterous ‘I’ll Cry Instead’ stand out strongly. ‘Blackbird’ was a lovely melodic treat.

By the time they played ‘This Boy’, the harmonies were working really well.

I caught them at my local arts centre which is not the greatest venue for ‘get up and move it’ music but towards the end of their second act, the Dung Beatles got a few of us unashamed boogy people down at the front.

One of the many highlights of the night for me was when the band was joined on stage by three guys on piccolo trumpet, trombone and saxophone.  They broke into ‘Obla di Obla da’, ‘Lady Madonna’ and ‘Got to Get You into My Life’.  Absolutely fantastic! And, just as an aside, it was our friend Joel on sax. Well done Joel and all the best for the new baby in May! Aylesbury is quite a small town after all.

The gig was a charity event in aid of the Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospitals where the rhythm guitarist’s daughter has been a patient and I am so very glad to have been part of that worthwhile fund-raising event.

The Dung Beatles are:
Steve Hillier on rhythm guitar
Phil Toller on bass
Danny Prendergast on lead guitar
Mike Ashton on drums

To find out more about this great band, visit their website:

The Dung Beatles will be playing soon at:
 15 March Rivets Sports & Social Club, Aylesbury
30 March The Weavers Pub, Aylesbury

I was fortunate to be granted an interview with the band:

BBFC: How does it feel to be playing to a sold-out audience?
Steve: Yeah, it was sold out, wasn’t it? Great for the charity and exciting for us especially as it is only Danny’s third gig and Mike has the flu.

BBFC: Shows how great musicians you are as are your heroes. Do you feel you need to play Beatles songs note-perfect?
Phil: No, interpretation is important.
Steve and Danny: Yes, but it is important to be faithful to the originals which is what we tried to achieve with our acoustic set. We don’t want to be impersonators but we do want to capture the essence.
Mike: We vary the set according to the venue.

BBFC: Your harmonies started working well into the first set.
Steve: Phil is an experienced chorister so he pulls us together on the harmonies.

BBFC: Normally Ringo got to sing at least one song in a set. Why didn’t we get a chance to hear you?
Mike: I’m working on my solos. I have yet to work out drumming and singing at the same time! I would like to do ‘Act Naturally’.

BBFC: Why the Beatles?
Danny: The Beatles got me started playing the guitar.
Steve: I was playing with Mike and Phil about a year ago and we realised we all loved the Beatles.
We realised that Danny was a serious fan because he knew how to play ‘Mother Nature’s Son’!

BBFC: I was thrilled that you played some of the less familiar Beatles songs.
Mike: Yeah, we try to. My favourite is ‘If I Needed Someone’.

BBFC: Do you ever feel that you could improve on a Beatles song?
Steve, Phil, Danny: No!
Mike: I used the toms half way through ’If I Needed Someone’.

BBFC: Danny, of course I have to ask this – what’s it like playing the George Harrison part?
Danny: He is an understated guitarist. Playing guitar doesn’t have to be tricky. Just enjoy the music!

BBFC: And, finally, just to complete the whole Beatles Tribute Band thing – what did you all have for breakfast this morning?
Phil: toast
Steve: prunes
Mike: toast and marmalade
Dan: porridge and toast

Thank you guys for a really fab show!

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