I’m sure we all know the story of the iconic, made for the comedy circuit, Rutles.
Potentially the first piece of tongue in cheek satire cast against the self-important, overly serious, music world, The Rutles gave us all permission to demote our rock-gods from unreachable, infallible, deities into what they actually were; hugely talented musicians with great ideas and the type of right-time-right-place styled luck that it takes one band to create history and another to end up on the pub circuit.
Brilliantly referencing the Beatles music and imagery, tonight’s Rutles do what they’re supposed to by taking pieces of the Liverpool Lads most famous moments and inverting them subtly with brilliant effect. Whilst subtle key changes and lyric alterations are all that’s needed to parody the original tracks, what makes the live performance stand out is the way the songs are delivered and performed with sincerity. It’s the sincerity that gives this show it’s humour and it’s the humour that makes this show.
Tight musicianship supports the Rutles in their recreation of their music, including some tracks so difficult to replicate that not even the Fab Four themselves tried. All in great voice, with the audience seemingly knowing all of the words also, the gig becomes a tribute not just to the Beatles but also the Rutles. It’s the sort of imagery that makes you cringe at the knowing smile of the hipsters when they try to define the show in terms of it’s ‘meta’ irony and the tribute band being as much the tribute as the original source.
The only downside of tonight, which is a shame given that the Cluny is Newcastle’s finest music venue by far, is the setting of the stage. A few years ago the Rutles played the o2 and we could see all of the band. Given that this show relies on subtle humours it’s unfortunate that some of the comic moments may have been missed. Next time, perhaps, raise the drums.
Image not mine (but it not yours either)