CULTURE- FRIDAYS UPDATE Easy day's night: Abbey Road recreate fab 'four'

Friday afternoon concertgoers will probably not be terribly surprised to find a Beatles tribute band on stage at the Pavilion this week – after all, in a town that can support a Ween tribute band, anything goes.

They might be surprised to find five people in said band, though. What's more, the last guy won't be playing the role of George Martin, the producer long known unofficially as "the fifth Beatle."

Guitarist Paul Olko, on the other hand, claims to play the George Harrison part– mostly. You see, Abbey Road has abandoned the usual fraudulent imitations employed by most other tribute bands. "We want to be Beatles fans up on stage, just like the people watching us are Beatles fans," he says. "When you do an act-alike/look-alike thing, you have to remain in character. With our operation, we can jump off the stage and dance with people, sing with people, and interact."

It's a perfectly sensible model when you consider that the Beatles have been imitated so often by other bands– intentionally or otherwise. Drummer Bill Jobes has played in his fair share of bands around Charlottesville, most recently with the Retrofonics, and says that all of them have felt the Fab Four's influence.

"Every band I've ever been in, we've always done Beatles songs," he says. While that's to be expected from a guy with a sizable collection of Beatles memorabilia, and one who went to Liverpool for his honeymoon, Jobes says the tribute band takes it to a new level of synergy. "In Abbey Road, everyone is on the same Beatles wavelength," he says.

This Friday, that will radiate out beyond the five band members: there will surely be many Beatlemaniacs flitting about the Pavilion, and the Downtown Business Association will be hosting a Lennon-themed art exhibit in the former Visitor's Center on 5th street. Philadelphia-based Beatles admirers Dr. Dog will perform at Starr Hill later that very evening. Jobes, however, is excited about the opportunity to honor his idols just down the street from where his love for them began.

"I remember, in the winter of '64, going to Stacy's Music in Downtown Charlottesville and buying the Beatles 'She Loves You' 45," he recalls. A lot has changed since then– a brick walkway has usurped the road that used to run down the center of the Mall, and Stacy's has since moved to Route 29 North– but he still has that 45.

Abbey Road plays Fridays after Five Friday, May 11, at the Pavilion at the east end of the Downtown Mall.

Abbey Road
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