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Related Posts: Beatles Fest West 2009

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Beatles Fest West Day 2: Getting Better All the Time
[Posted by Jude Kessler on Sunday, 10/11/09 6:59 am] [Permalink] [Full Blog] [Tweet] [Facebook]

Day 2 at San Francisco's Fest for Beatles Fans was, incredibly, even better than Day 1. Jon Polk arrived with his Box of Vision (the artful CD display case for the remastered CD's and fab coffee table book on the artwork of the CD's...lovely). The acoustic, New Age-ish Bartron Tyler Group who coffeehouse version of Beatles songs is entrancing made the scene.

And Drew Harrison rocked the house with the Sun Kings in his immaculate Lennon impersonation. If you haven't seen him, Lennon Luvers, he is spot-on. His "Julia" made me cry. Not just tear-up: cry. And his "Revolution" is maddeningly great. I've never seen a "Lennon" capture the "off-camera" expressions as consistently, even when his back is more or less turned to the audience. And he has even developed the Lennon slumped shoulder hunch over the guitar, the cross-over soft shoe, the toe walk across the stage, and the failure to be able to remember his words or keep his guitar in tune. All John. Bravo.

But the surprise gem of the day was 17-year-old Christina Trillo whose bluesy, gutsy, cutting-edge rendition of Beatles and Lennon standards gives them a 2000's twist. Trillo, a real estate assistant who grew up "being forced to listen to The Beatles," is now a voluntary fan, in her own right, and her performances at BeatlesFestWest proved that she is gifted student of their genre. Backed by Rick Olson (who also arranged her songs), Trillo gave the San Fran crowd a soulful rendition of "Real Love" and a gut-wrenching performance of "I'm Losin' You'." But when asked what her favorite Beatles tune is, she replied, "A Day in the Life," because it "shows both John Lennon's style and Paul McCartney's style." Unlike me, she doesn't take sides.

Trillo has "been singing since she could talk" and although she could clearly model as well, her heart is in singing. She has been receiving professional voice training for ten years...and it shows. Her Beatles songs are lovely and unique.

To get a copy of Chritina's CD, go to her web page.

One more day at Beatles Fest West 2009! Acoustic bands, Bruce Spizer takes the stage, and many more surprises. Come out and enjoy. Have a glass of wine and relax to fantastic music. See you there!

Drew Harrison is a star as John Lennon in the Sun Kings
[Posted by Katie Hickox on Sunday, 10/11/09 6:45 am] [Permalink] [Full Blog] [Tweet] [Facebook]

Drew Harrison gave a powerful performance as John Lennon last night at Beatles Fest West 2009.

Whether he plays as a solo acoustic performer in his tribute to John's 69th birthday earlier in the day or playing lead guitar with the full Sun Kings band, Drew captures the essence of John's singing. Not only does Drew look like John with wavy brown hair, dark sunglasses and jeans, but he captures the spirit of John's singing style and vocal inflection.

The SunKings are a local band and hail from the greater San Francisco Bay Area. They received top billing and closed out Saturday night's Beatles concert to ecstatic audiences including this reporter .

Drew gave the strongest performance as John Lennon of any of the Beatles tribute bands that played Friday and Saturday. His performance as John is incredible.

Don't miss their next concert! Drew and the Sun Kings will perform a two hour set at Beatles Fest West 2009 tonight. Go to their website for more info, it's

Canadians rock out at San Francisco Beatles Festival
[Posted by Katie Hickox on Sunday, 10/11/09 6:35 am] [Permalink] [Full Blog] [Tweet] [Facebook]

All You Need Is Love, a Beatles tribute band from Canada, put on a great show last night at Beatles Fest West 2009 with good vibes and great musicianship. The lead singer is a lifelong Beatles fan who made friends with the audience between songs with his personal experiences with different Beatles albums and songs.

He shared how they had played at the Cavern Club in Liverpool a few years ago and John Lennon's sister Julia Baird came up and said, "John would have loved the way you sang that song!" And how much that meant to them.

They performed a wide range of songs, from Revolver to Rubber Soul to the White Album and Let It Be.

John Lennon author talks to fans at Beatles Fest West
[Posted by Katie Hickox on Saturday, 10/10/09 9:09 pm] [Permalink] [Full Blog] [Tweet] [Facebook]

At Beatles Fest West tonight, Jude Southerland Kessler, author of "Shoulda Been There" gave a fabulous talk about John Lennon's early days starting with John's birth during a German bombing raid in which her research reveals there was no bombing raid the night that John was born.

She explained to the fans how she has had to be a detective as she sorts out competing stories for her five volume series on John Lennon's life story.

Jude has spent the years 1986 through 1993 on secondary research for her work, reading well over three hundred books, periodicals, audio CD's and then progressed to video interview DVDs and audio interview clips, and then on site interviews in Liverpool for seven years, every year from 1993 to 2001. She started writing in "Shoulda Been There", her first volume, in 2000 and published it last year.

Jude says she decided to focus on John's life because of her interest in neglected and abused kids. She says she sees John "as a little child inside a man".

Jude's next volume, "Shivering Inside", will be published on John's 70th birthday, October 9th, 2010. For more information go to

Beatles Fest West 2009 Day 1: Something New
[Posted by Jude Kessler on Saturday, 10/10/09 12:03 pm] [Permalink] [Full Blog] [Tweet] [Facebook]

A cool and cloudy morning gave way to brilliant sunshine as BeatlesFestWest kicked off at the Scottish Rite Center in San Francisco. Dr. Robert (aka Gareth) of and his staff of friendly, helpful, Beatles-nicknamed volunteers (Nowhere Man, Polythene Pam, Mr. Kite, etc.) were all on hand to welcome vendors, tribute bands, and authors, like me, to the Bay Area.

In the last few years, the East Coast and Midwest seem to have had a monopoly on Beatles Celebrations with The Fest for Beatles Fans in both the Meadowlands and Chicago, Abbey Road on the River in Louisville, and Stanford, Connecticut's upcoming BeatEXPO on 29 November. But BeatlesRadio was determined to rekindle the once-popular California-based Beatles celebrations, and their ingenue gathering was...great.

Of course, the standard ingredients were all there: 1) Beatles Rock Band set up for fans to participate in, 2) T-shirts and buttons and bags (oh my!), 3) Tribute Bands, and 4) Author Talks (yeah!).

But there were some new twists on the standard fare that made the day perfectly delightful:

1) Excellent stadium seating auditorium for band viewing, speeches, performances...great lighting, great acoustics/sound. The Fab Faux show that closed Day 1 was a performance worthy of the price of the ticket alone! Very professional.

2) Dining area set up in the marketplace so that people could sit and peruse the RockBand competitions, view the vendors in action, and sip a glass of wine. Nice touch.

3) British fare! Bangers and mash anyone?

4)Young, fresh performers...

In that #4 final category, I hasten to mention the artwork of Sean Ward, Beatles cartoon artist. Sean creates comic strips depicitng Beatles lyrics in clever and unusual ways. In one comic strip, an entire song comes to life, not by quoting every single word of the song, but by conveying those lyrics cleverly, through art. Ward's "Ballad of John and Yoko," a fantastic color work, has been made into prints that sell for only $20 each. And get this...they are signed and numbered. Wow!! Now, I know that to be PC, I must called Sean "extraordinary." He is. But I prefer to refer to him as truly gifted.

Tomorrow, I'm thrilled to be interviewing another young and creative Beatles inspired performer, Christina Trillo. More about that then.

Both Sean and Cristina were born long after the Beatles disbanded, but their passion for the Lads from Liverpool is as real as any Frist Gen Fan's...their art tells you that quite clearly.

You still have today and Sunday to come out and see amazing tribute bands, hear Bruce Spizer (who has written 8 books on the Beatles AND who composed the questions for the Beatles Trivia Game) speak in person, and hear yours truly discuss "Myths, Legends, and Controversies: The Early Beatles." The marketplace opens at noon today (Saturday) and performances begin at 12:15. There is a parking garage beneath the excuse not to come out and support the West Coast's attempt to rekindle that Beatle magic!

San Francisco Beatles Fest West concert brings sunshine to fans
[Posted by Katie Hickox on Saturday, 10/10/09 9:08 am] [Permalink] [Full Blog] [Tweet] [Facebook]

Beatles fans turned out Friday night to Beatles Fest West in San Francisco to see visiting Las Vegas show band Fab Four play their favorites.

Songs such as "Here Comes the Sun," being performed in the photo below, with the sun projected on the screen behind the Fab Four, brought rays of sunshine to Beatles fans. The Fab Four received top billing for Friday nights concert.

What a real treat to hear classic Beatles songs performed live by bands from Japan, Germany, local Northern California and a Las Vegas show band!

If you missed Friday night's show, you can still come to Saturday and Sunday concerts. Saturday, the SunKings headlines with a special show for John Lennon's 69th birthday celebration. John would have turned 69 on October 9.

Go to for more information and event programming.

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