Amherst Aisle Plays Abbey Road – The Copper Door – 5/31/12

Amherst Aisle
The Copper Door
May 31, 2012

It's tough to compare anybody to The Beatles. I mean, come on. The Fab Four? Please.

That said, when Amherst Aisle finished out their residency at the Copper Door in Santa Ana last night by forgoing their own songs in favor of playing Abbey Road all the way through, they did well by the iconic Brits with their jolly romp through a night of covers.

One wouldn't normally associate the ethereal, symphonic rock of the is Irvine outfit with The Beatles. But somehow, their Muse-like
sensibilities lined up well with the track listing of  hallowed tunes like “Oh! Darling” and “Mean Mr. Mustard.” Given their humble attempt to recreate on of the world's most ineffable albums, we were glad to see the band at least went into it with some humility.

In between corny jokes and stage banter, frontman and keyboardist Ben Kashuk spent most of the night thanking
the audience over and over again.  It could have been
directed at the big slice of the crowd  that seemed to already know
the members of the band, but Amherst Aisle's general
we're-all-friends-here vibe turned the area in front of the stage into a loose and intimate, late-night  gig.

That's not to say that the band wasn't taking the material seriously.
Kashuk's eyes were shut tight with intensity as he released the ghostly, meandering chorus line of “Because,” silencing the crowd as the spectral harpsichord from his keyboard washed over tricky vocal harmonies. Any band covering the Beatles' masterful eleventh record is destined to fall short in some regard, so the fact that Amherst Aisle treated the concept with respect all the way to the end (even with a couple false starts on “Octopus Garden”) was a relief and pleasure to watch. On of our only frustrations was that it seemed by  the time the band really started to feel the energy of each song, it was almost over.

The night ended with a dance-hungry crowd pleading for one more song after
the band ended their set with, “The End” (probably an appropriate choice), and although we personally would
have guessed an impromptu “Her Majesty,” the crowd screamed just as loud
to hear the only Amherst Aisle original of the night, “Coalescence.”

“This was a fucking blast, thank you so much!” Kashuk ended, only
further epitomizing the earnest appreciation this band has for its
fanbase, far away from the pompous, over dramatic  attitude of The Beatles at the height of their fame. Yeah, The
Beatles may have been the best musical act to ever exist, but as
Amherst Aisle's tribute set closed out, the crowd's cheering for their original song actually outweighed the overshadowing presence of Abbey Road–not a bad feeling to walk off the stage with.
Critical Bias: The band's bassist, Kevin Leonard, is a bartender at my local watering hole.

Crowd: Kids from Irvine mingling somewhat unnaturally with Santa Ana hipsters.

Overheard: “Bitch, you are not Kim Possible.”

Random Notebook Dump / Note to Michael Klein: Dude, that's the most
emphatic I've ever seen anybody flail a tambourine. You go, man.

Setlist (“Abbey Road”):
“Come Together”
“Maxwell's Silver Hammer”
“Oh! Darling”
“Octopus's Garden”
“I Want You (She's So Heavy)”
“Here Comes the Sun”
“You Never Give Me Your Money”
“Sun King”
“Mean Mr. Mustard”
“Polythene Pam”
“She Came In Through the Bathroom Window”
“Golden Slumbers”
“Carry That Weight”
“The End”

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