PLASTIC SOUL is definitely not your stereotypical "Beatles" band. Shunning the wigs, costumes, impersonations and slavish adherence to studio recordings favored by most tributes, the Central New York-based group is distinguished by its unusually hard-edged approach to the music, designed to evoke the energy and excitement of the Beatles as a live rock and roll band. Most intriguing, perhaps, is that they have rather audaciously chosen to perform the songs of the Fab Four with just three musicians . . .
The group's current lineup dates to May 2003, when guitarist Mark Barnes and bassist John Smales recruited multi-instrumentalist and singer Jon Liebing to join them on the drums for a set of Beatles music at a local benefit show.
Mark had been honing a repertoire of Lennon-McCartney-Harrison tunes with the goal of forming a tribute band since returning from a trip to England in August 2001, a journey which included a visit to the Beatles' hometown of Liverpool. In early 2002, he found a kindred spirit in John Smales, a guitarist and singer who shared both a passion for the Beatles' songs and strong opinions as to how they should be performed live. Within a short time, John bought a Hofner "violin" bass guitar and put himself to the daunting task of learning Paul McCartney's melodic bass lines.
"Could a three-piece band really do justice to the Beatles
in a live performance? The answer: YES! . . .
The incredible harmonies and extremely accurate
renditions were a pleasure to hear. It wasn't like a
stiff calculated tribute act that attempts to imitate
every mannerism of each member . . .
but hey man, they had the sound down!"
Learn MORE than you ever WANTED to know about:
Mark John & Jon
After several months of rehearsals and a few club dates (with Ray Barnes behind the drum kit), the spring of 2003 found Mark and John without a drummer just weeks before a scheduled show. A pair of hastily-arranged rehearsals with Jon Liebing -- a career acoustic guitarist and songwriter who had previously worked with John S. -- quickly revealed a natural chemistry between the three singers, and the trio received an overwhelming response to their first outing in late May 2003. As a result, what had been envisioned as a "one night only" engagement marked Jon's debut as the group's full-time drummer.
PLASTIC SOUL has since built an enthusiastic and loyal following throughout Upstate New York and beyond -- including Philadelphia and Chicago -- delighting audiences with their stunning vocal harmonies, inventive arrangements, and authentic hard-rocking delivery of selections spanning the entirety of the Beatles' career.
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