“Imagine the Spice Girls singing Beatles songs,” says bassist Nam Chi Vu of the Penny Lanes, an all-female Fab Four tribute that also includes singer-guitarist Vanja James. “I based the name after the Beatles song, of course, but also after Kate Hudson’s character in Almost Famous. I have replicas of the Sergeant Pepper uniforms in short-dress form, which the ladies wear with mod go-go boots.… We play all the hit Beatles songs, but that includes covers the Beatles did, such as ‘Twist and Shout’ and ‘Please Mr. Postman.’ ”
While their look is gender customized, the Penny Lanes shoot for straight note-for-note renditions. “My goal is to get it as close to the real thing as possible. When doing a tribute, I feel like it’s important because everyone knows these songs and will know if something is tampered with or when someone messes up or forgets a lyric.”
In other Beatles news, Campland near P.B. hosted Beatles on the Bay Saturday, October 10, with Rockola doing an all-mop-top set. The locale used to host an annual Dead on the Bay gathering, until Grateful Dead reps “encouraged” them to drop the unauthorized moniker. “The Dead management feels real concerned about people not being confused in terms of who’s putting on a production or who’s associated with a production,” according to promoter Brian Ross. Other than a parking fee, Beatles on the Bay was a free show.
If you prefer your Beatles naked, the Alphabeatles still perform for tips at Black’s Beach on the first Saturday of every month. The middle-aged married duo plays acoustic versions of around two dozen Beatles songs, unaccompanied by clothing and always performed in alphabetical order, a discipline they refuse to alter. I once saw a (naked) woman request that they do “Rocky Raccoon.”
“We can’t,” the (naked) husband said, “we’re only on the Gs,” and they launched into “Good Day, Sunshine.”