Updated Wed, Mar 14, 2012 3:19 pm
The 12th annual Lennon Fest took place Saturday, Dec. 10 at Jackie's O's Pub and Brewery and The Union. The event was a benefit The Johnny B Fund, which helps young area musicians pay for music lessons.
The event featured many of the finest players in the Athens music scene, including the Coolville Hot Club, Dropdead Sons, The Lennon Orchestra and Broken Ring, as well as those who formed groups specifically to perform the music of John Lennon and The Beatles.
It's impossible not to ponder the significance of an evening spent in two different clubs, surrounded by 500-odd people aged eight to 80, all singing along to the music of a band that broke up 40-plus years ago.
Explanations of the universal and timeless appeal of The Beatles' music are better left to other writers, and fortunately, there are plenty of Beatles books on the shelves. If you had the time and inclination to commit to one book per week, it would still take you over 50 years to read all the English-language books written about the band (2,624 printed books, according to Amazon.com).
Every few years, an artist or group of musicians surges to the front of the popular consciousness and draws the inevitable comparison to The Beatles.
These comparisons may be logical from a musical, economic or artistic standpoint, but contain an inherent contradiction: when comparing The Dave Clark Five, Pink Floyd, Bruce Springsteen, Squeeze, Madonna, Michael Jackson, R.E.M., Oasis, Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber (fill in your favorite) to The Beatles, what is being stated essentially is "This is the New Standard by which all future artists/bands will be measured."
Many of the multi-generational, smiling, singing audience members and bands from this past Saturday night might have difficulty believing that. Get back to us in another 40 years, or alternatively, you are invited to join in next December.
In addition to stints as a guitar technician, tour manager, concert promoter and independent record label director in the 1990s, Michael Tedesco has performed in the U.S. and Europe as a guitarist with Trap Door and Robert Fripp & the League/Orchestra of Crafty Guitarists. When he's not hosting "Radio Free Athens" on WOUB 1340 AM, he works at Ohio University as an IT and web services specialist.
Slideshow: 12th Annual Lennon Fest
John "Catfish" Juliano of the Lennon Orchestra
Eric "Junebug" Leighton of the Lennon Orchestra
The Lennon Orchestra at The Union
Junebug and Dave Baer of the Lennon Orchestra
Broken Ring performs "Bad Boy" at Jackie O's
Jeff Redefer of Broken Ring performs "I Saw Her Standing There"
Johnny Marathon and Dave Baer of the Lennon Orchestra perform "I Am The Walrus"
Joey Hebdo of the Lennon Orchestra
The Coolville Hot Club play to a packed house at Jackie O's
Steve Zarate performs an acoustic version of "Flying" at Jackie O's