It’s a hard name to say. But, it’s an easy place to play. Well, The Weeklings sure made it look easy as they delivered a strong set of authentic, early-Fab Four style songs to Nashville, Tennessee during the Schermerhorn Symphony Center’s Beatles Bash on July 22, 2018.
The Weeklings are America’s innovative tribute to the muse and music of the Beatles, performing energized renditions of Beatles standards, uniquely arranged Beatles nuggets plus brilliant Beatles-inspired power-pop originals. The quartet (Lefty Weekling: Glen Burtnik, Zeek Weekling: Bob Burger, Rocky Weekling: John Merjave and Smokestack Weekling: Joe Bellia) are accomplished musicians in their own right who bring passion to one of the most classic catalogues in pop culture. Their presentation is not a re-enactment but more of an interpretation of these great songs while staying within the familiar context of the compositions.
Before the concert, deejays were on site spinning records from the 60’s which of course included The Fab Four. Hippie Radio (94.5) along with a photo booth added to the pre-show festivities. Some fans were sporting Beatles shirts and their ages ranged from children to grandparents proving that the music of the Beatles is timeless. On Sunday, although it was all about the boys from Liverpool – there was a push to let folks know that The Symphony will be hosting a music of the Rolling Stones event on November 11, 2018 along with plenty of other programs.
The Weeklings with a nod to the early days were wearing dark suits. They kicked off the Beatles Bash with a peppy “Paperback Writer” adding a few of their own ideas to the mix which included a Pete Townsend windmill before floating into The Monkey’s “Pleasant Valley Sunday” then back to the story about a novelist. A quick 1-2-3 count took us into a spirited “I Saw Her Standing There” followed by “Eight Days A Week”. The hits kept coming before moving into a few later year pieces featuring “Don’t Let Me Down” and “Your Bird Can Sing.” The Weeklings shared a few of their own Beatles influenced originals including the up-tempo “In The Moment” which was recorded at Abbey Road Studios. They closed the first set with a hopping “Help.”
The second set showcased members of the Nashville Symphony who enhanced “All You Need Is Love” with horns and strings. Next, was a giddy and good take on “Got To Get You Into My Life.” Countered by the still heart wrenching “Eleanor Rigby.” Again the Symphony took the music to the next level on “Strawberry Fields Forever.” A number of tracks from Sgt. Pepper were aptly approached culminating with “A Day In The Life” that earned the band and orchestra a standing ovation after the crescendo of sounds.
Yet, they were not done and still had a soaring “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” along with a winning “I Am The Walrus” to present that also brought fans to their feet. A medley of side two of Abbey Road was rousing. We thought that was the climatic end but they quickly returned to the stage for “Hey Jude” to top themselves.
The Weeklings were introduced as hailing from Asbury Park, New Jersey. Spotted in the crowd were that shore town’s own Reagan Richards and Gordon Brown – collectively known as Williams Honor – a country music duo who spent the last year climbing the charts on the strength of their debut album. The pair are back in town to make a follow-up and to plant another flag in the Music City of Tennessee from the Music City By The Sea. Excitedly, the A.P. invasion is apparently continuing to be seen in the Volunteer State.
In addition to recent sightings in town of Little Steven and John Eddie the Asbury connection is getting stronger here. Consider that Burtnik lives there, too. The solo artist is probably best known for his work in Styx and as the leader of several cover acts including the internationally respected The Orchestra who recreate the music of E.L.O. But, the light is brightly shining on him now via the vehicle of The Weeklings. The Buddy Hollyesque Bob Burger is perhaps our favorite independent artist of all time and he fits perfectly as a John figure cast to Glen’s Paul.
Coincidentally it was Burger Week in Mid-Tenn and we couldn’t let it pass without helping ourselves to at least one. We picked the cozy confines of the relatively new and convenient to the Symphony City Tap House and enjoyed their tasty generous portions and finely poured drafts. We were served by two friendly waitresses sporting restaurant branded apparel with Warren Zevon’s phrase “Enjoy Every Sandwich” printed on the back. We did and we will be back!
The Schermerhorn Symphony Center in downtown Nashville continues to host a wide array of artists such as The Weeklings. Events for the 2018/2019 season will have Family Friendly Shows along with their Classical Series. Their pop programs include Chris Isaak, Reese Witherspoon and Kristin Chenoweth plus their Jazz presentations look promising with the likes of Jon Batiste, Pink Martini and Branford Marsalis. Please visit NashvilleSymphony.org for a complete schedule.
Related Links: For more information on THE WEEKLINGS and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links — The Weeklings | Glen Burtnik | Bob Burger | Willliams Honor | City Tap House |Nashville Symphony