Garrett Harris 2 p.m., May 29
Over the Wall
It's probably a bad idea to name your band with a Beatles reference, especially if you write melodic, exquisitely arranged guitar-pop songs with lots of vocal harmonies. That's like having a Led Zeppelin-y hard-rock band and naming it Bustle in Your Hedgerow: You don't want to set your audience's expectations too high before you've played a note.
But Get Back Loretta does something a little different: The San Diego band takes its name from the lyrics of one of the small number of bad songs in the Lennon-McCartney canon, from the album Let It Be. (Imagine if the Beatles' discography were released in reverse order: After Let It Be and Yellow Submarine they would have been dropped by their record company before they ever got to Abbey Road. )
Where was I? Oh, yeah: The audience is sitting there, with expectations high, maybe, but a little confused. And here comes Get Back Loretta, five dorky-looking, even dorkier-acting guys. They're smiling, and they're cracking jokes, and the girls in the front row are cheering, and everyone else can't decide if the band's shlubbiness is endearing or sort of irritating. And then Get Back Loretta starts to play, and they've got the melodies and the harmonies and guitars and keyboards and a really nimble-sounding drummer. They come out singing the song "Mr. Brown," which has a line that goes: "So we march through the trees/ With our two-part harmonies," and it doesn't really sound like the Beatles. It sounds like an updated, more commercial XTC. It sure doesn't sound like "Get Back," but it sounds really good.
--- Of Note, 1-3-08