Me: I bet they wrote Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds high on acid.The idea of a Beatles tribute band sounded amazing and wonderfully tacky at the same time. It wasn’t until I was properly immersed in a crowd of hip middle-aged/ 30-something Fitzroy natives that I realised I had never heard a Beatles song played live.
Liam: Dude, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds IS about LSD. Lucy... Sky... Diamonds...?
Me: Oh my god.
Consisting of Scott McCarthy, Ben King, Michael Burke and Lee Dryden (John, Paul, George and Ringo respectively), The Melbeats claim themselves to be “quite possibly the best Beatles tribute band in Australia”. There is no question of their dedication: each musician donning The Beatles trademark bowl cut wig, playing the exact instruments their idols played, engaging in banter with the appropriate accents.
I had never been to a gig that actively engaged every single person in the venue. Every pair of eyes danced with the band, each pair of lips moved soundlessly in-sync with the songs. Clutching my drink and tapping my feet, I thought I was in the 60s, sneaking into a pub to check out this happening band. I had never felt so overwhelmed by music; I could feel tears push out of my eyes.
Out blasted the energetic “Twist and Shout”. An older couple with eccentric hair did the sensational jive, unwittingly coercing the younger and drunker to do the same. A young girl bopped with her mum and gran. Outside observers peeked inside the Lounge Pit to witness our nostalgic euphoria.
The Melbeats churned out more classics – “Help!”, “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”, “Eight Days a Week”, “A Hard Day’s Night” and Ringo’s “Yellow Submarine”, which everyone unashamedly indulged in singing along to. I felt the urge to cry again at “All My Loving” and “Till There Was You”. I realised this wonderful band would be the closest thing I would ever get to seeing The Beatles live.