Yesterday evening I was at the Alban Arts and Conference Center to see Rubber Soul, Charleston's Beatles tribute band, performing the White Album. I've seen Rubber Soul perform before and was impressed by their take on classic Beatles songs, and last night's show was just as impressive.
Part of what makes Rubber Soul unique is Michelle Melton, the female singer in the band. Michelle has a great set of pipes and can belt it out like nobody's business. True Beatles fans will surely cry foul at the "travesty" of having a female dabbling in the Fab Four's work (Yoko Ono jokes aside), but Rubber Soul benefits from Michelle's presence and so does the audience.
Speaking of true Beatles fans, I apparently ran into one while waiting in the "will call" line — which had a grand total of four people in it, while the normal ticket line stretched toward the end of the block — outside the Alban. He came up and started a conversation, leading off with how unusual it was for a Beatles tribute band to include a horn section. I wasn't sure where he was going with that and kind of gave him a noncommittal nod, hoping he'd just wander off. He didn't.
"So are these people any good?" he said, fussing with his stuffy green sweater.
"Yeah, they're really good."
"Oh. Well, that's surprising."
I cocked my head at him. "Why do you say that's surprising? Just curious."
"You're obviously not from around here," he sniffed.
"I've lived here since 1998," I said — but he didn't offer any further rebuttal or defense to his very generalized "Everything in Charleston sucks" attitude, and quickly changed the subject.
I hope he enjoyed the show, but I'll bet you a nickel he didn't. It seemed like everyone else did, though, and Rubber Soul got a standing ovation at the end of their set. The only song they skipped from the White Album was "Revolution 9." Rumor has it they were trying to get that one worked in too but couldn't quite pull it together. They made up for it by throwing "Hey Jude" into the mix.
Despite nearly having words with the music snob in line, and running into a few weirdos inside the theater, I enjoyed the show itself. Rubber Soul provided an entertaining evening of local music and brought the White Album to life in their own way. That's exactly what they promised, and I don't think you could ask for more than that.