A shaky guitarist asks a question that will permanently taint your eardrums.
“Y’all wanna hear some Beatles?”
Your answer -- an adamant “no” -- goes unnoticed, giving way to a rap-driven version of “Across the Universe.”
Or even worse, former “American Idol” contestant Kristy Lee Cook’s country take on “Eight Days a Week.”
Beatles tribute acts have potential to botch classics, shatter musical standards and ignite nightlife rage from “Hey Jude” purists.
Still, some brave musicians are willing to rise to the challenge.
One of those acts -- Abbey Road LIVE! -- performs two shows at The Loft Saturday night.
“We have over 100 Beatles songs. We tend to focus on the later years,” said Michael Wegner, guitarist and keyboard player for the band.
Before you stop reading and enter a bitter tirade about preserving the sacredness of “Yellow Submarine,” I’ll emphasize an important fact.
Wegner’s band isn’t a “look-alike” act -- that is, they don’t try to mimic The Beatles in appearance.
“That really didn’t interest us. I don’t think it would work,” Wegner said.
The Athens-based Abbey Road LIVE! -- composed of members in their mid-30s and early 40s -- performs with a simple mindset: “What if The Beatles had gone on tour in 1969?” (The Beatles stopped touring in 1966.)
The Beatles’ song catalog seems legendary enough to make bands reluctant to tackle the material.
Not true, Wegner said. He added it’s possible that hundreds of Beatles tribute acts exist in the U.S. alone.
A simple Google search for “Beatles tribute band” yields results ranging from Beatlejuice to The Sheatles (an all-female act).
Working in the bands’ favor? The fact that it’s hard to entirely despise The Beatles.
“Who doesn’t like The Beatles? Fortunately for us, The Beatles have a lot of die-hard fans,” Wegner said, citing some all-ages shows when even 5-year-old audience members enjoy the band’s song list.
Naturally, Wegner’s band faces the issue of remaining true to the original material. While they insert some unique elements into the songs, they also boast an attention to detail that even purists will likely appreciate.
Wegner and his band mates work on solo projects as well, and have individually collaborated with acts like Indigo Girls and Juliana Hatfield.
Once you’re assured his act won’t dabble in rap remixes, your concern rests primarily with Wegner. Does he ever get tired of Beatles music?
“I’ve got a pretty high tolerance for it,” he said.
Sonya Sorich, reporter, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 706-571-8516.