American English performed at the Fairmont Southampton Resort on Friday and Saturday night closing the Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts 2014. *Photo supplied
American English performed at the Fairmont Southampton Resort on Friday and Saturday night closing the Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts 2014. *Photo supplied

American English lived up to their name as ‘The Beatles incarnate’ on Friday night — so nicknamed by the Fab Four’s original promoter, Sam Leach. 

Each band member had something reminiscent of the original — Frank Canino emulated Lennon’s nasal tones, Eric Michaels perfected McCartneys side-to-side head bop, playing left-hand guitar, Tom Gable perfected Ringo’s boyish charms and James Paul Lynch recreated George’s dark-horse aloofness. All were there in full flow and the audience loved them. 

British humour

Even between songs they managed to capture the spirit of the Fab Four with their lackadaisical British humour, subtle sarcasm and off-the-cuff stage banter. The Illinois-born band even pulled off the Liverpudlian accents though Lennon did slip into a little Irish burr on more than one occasion. 

The band opened up with their early songs, She Loves You, Till There Was You, Hard Day’s Night and then  I’m Gonna Be Your Man which brought with it a massive energy and gave people the courage to get up and start jumping to their feet.

American English are surprisingly similar to The Beatles in the overall sound not least thanks to the accurate renditions of ‘The Fifth Beatle’ (Ken Zemanek as George Martin) who took a corner of the stage. It was a noble inclusion — Martin is one of the greatest producers of all time and contributed to The Beatles’ ever-lasting quality.

McCartney’s voice was very close — perhaps not as bright and youthful as the original — but he gave out a wicked scream at the opportune moments that McCartney would be proud of. His singing did become a little shouty at times even though it wasn’t supposed to.

While Canino sounded similar to Lennon, some of the tenderness and vulnerability in his voice was lost. But when his harmonies came together with McCartney’s, the overall sound was uncanny. 

Lynch, as Harrison surprised us all when he took centre stage to sing Roll Over Beethoven — his voice projected right to the back of the auditorium where we were dancing . Very impressive. 

None of the band members really looked like their originals — Lennon and McCartney a little, probably the least likeness was between Gable and Ringo — Ringo’s features are so distinctive after all. 

Everything was going well until they moved on to Eight Days A Week — not the most exciting from the catalogue — but the band decided to get the audience to clap between lines which was pretty cringe-worthy. 

All was soon forgiven when they burst into Can’t Buy Me Love and Day Tripper, when everyone jumped out of their seats to have a little boogie. 

It’s a shame it had to be a seated event. Everyone was itching to dance, and did at opportune moments — but there were many at the front of the auditorium — perhaps some of the elderly members or perhaps the sponsors — who mostly remained seated so there were always conflicting needs between the two groups. 

They did a version of one of my favourite Beatles songs Come Together on Abbey Road but it’s a difficult song to cover with its depth and sincerity and the band didn’t quite manage. It was one disappointment among so many great covers. 

The second half was excellent and the Sergeant Pepper’s costumes were eye-popping. 

What followed was an excellent choice of songs including  All You Need Is Love, Hello, Goodbye and the Lennon and McCartney masterpiece A Day In The Life, which was accompanied by a nicely thought out light display. 

All in all a great night. And what a fun way to end the Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts. 

Even though we had The Beatles cover band at the Peace Day Concert in September — these guys were more slavishly devoted to recreating the exact sound of the Fab Four.