Hoboken is so focused on 100 years of Frank Sinatra, but it’s been 50 years since the Beatles released Help! and Rubber Soul. That fact didn’t slip past Hey Bulldog, a group of New Jersey musicians who pride themselves on precision and accuracy when covering the Beatles.
They’ll put that to the test this Friday at Maxwell’s, when they play Help! and Rubber Soul in their entirety—back-to-back.
Hey Bulldog (named for a track off the Yellow Submarine soundtrack album) first got together over a decade ago as part of an open “jam” to play Beatles songs on John Lennon’s birthday (October 9, 2004—to be precise). Since then, they’ve been playing to packed houses throughout the region.
The albums to be showcased Friday are among some of the more meaningful of the Beatles’ compositions, according to Hey Bulldog’s Gerry Rosenthal.
“Help! started to show more sincerity in their songs, not to mention intelligence. You rarely heard pop songs with words like ‘self-assured’ or ‘insecure’ in them,” says Rosenthal.
“Rubber Soul was the beginning of the transition that eventually led up to Sgt. Pepper. It was their first album where Indian music and the Sitar were featured. Not to mention more introspective songs like ‘Norwegian Wood’ and ‘In My Life.'”
Mimicking these envelope-pushing studio albums, without the luxury of a studio, calls for some creativity. “The biggest challenge is probably recreating all the non-guitar parts (sitar, piano, etc) on guitar! The only instruments we have are two guitars, bass, and drums,” says Rosenthal. “We add an additional dedicated vocalist as well so we are a 5-piece.”
In addition to the two albums, Hey Bulldog promise a number of other Beatles tunes this Friday at Maxwell’s (“Maxwell Silver’s Hammer,” perhaps?)
Tickets available in advance. Doors open at 8:30.