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A Magazine for Sheffield
Live / stage review

Back-to-back brilliance: Sheffield Beatles Project at the Octagon

The 30-piece Sheffield supergroup produce non-stop musical excellence in this career highlight performance.

9 December 2023 at
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Calvin Merry Photography.

“Every album we’ve performed has been a humbling and joyous experience, but even after seven years, this is the most excited I’ve been about a Sheffield Beatles Project concert.”

Ben Eckersley, musical director for the 30-piece Sheffield supergroup Sheffield Beatles Project, is excited about the band’s decision to create history by playing The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and the album that helped inspire it, The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, together for the first time ever. Since their first gig in 2016 the group has performed an annual show at Christmas, each featuring a different Beatles album played in its entirety. However, this back-to-back performance of two of the most iconic albums of the 20th century is their most ambitious performance to date.

Kicking off with Pet Sounds, it’s immediately clear how immensely talented this supergroup is. From the carefully crafted pop of ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’ & ‘Sloop John B’, to the melancholic percussion of ‘God Only Knows’, their respect for every musical detail was evident throughout.

Teah Lewis and Jack Weston’s vocal harmonies complement each other perfectly, but the gig peak comes from Jaz Kelly’s utterly brilliant solos. Her captivating vocals look effortless, and provide the ideal accompaniment to the sumptuous, string-laden orchestration.

The second set sees the band back in familiar territory as they play Sgt Pepper front to back. The ambition is matched with meticulous detail and commitment to the cause. The keyboard-driven ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’, the beautifully immersive ‘Within You Without You’ and the orchestral crescendo of ‘A Day In The Life’ are all highlights.

The encore spans a range of world-renowned Beatles music, from new single ‘Now and Then’ to old favourite ‘All You Need is Love’. The evening climaxes with ‘I Am The Walrus’ – the melodic complexity, orchestral overlay and ridiculous lyrics making it the ideal conclusion to a top-class gig oozing with talent.

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