British Invasion Returns In Full Force To Atlantic City

Beatles, Rolling Stones and Who tribute bands set stage on fire

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The British Invasion may have stopped some 50 years ago, though it surely didn’t feel like it yesterday in Atlantic City. If anything, three outstanding tribute bands illustrated how the music continues to be alive and kicking to this day, and why the British rock and pop music wave of the ’60s is one of the best imports the U.S. has ever seen, except perhaps for German cars!:-)

This was my second year at the British Invasion Festival at the Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City. I greatly enjoyed the free outdoor one-day event last June when I went there for the first time, so was it worth a two-hour drive to return? You betcha, baby – if anything, I felt it was even better than last year! Britain’s Finest, The Glimmer Twins and Who’s Next once again were in top shape.

Britain’s Finest

Britain’s Finest are one of the most intriguing tributes to The Beatles I know, and as a longtime Beatles fan, I’ve seen quite a few over the decades. Founded in Los Angeles in 2011, the band consists of Benny Chadwick (Paul McCartney), Ruben Amaya (John Lennon),  Robert Bielma (George Harrison) and Luis Renteria (Ringo Starr).

Like last year, they focused on the Beatles’ live period, playing songs, such as From My To You, I Want To Hold Your Hand, Can’t Buy Me Love, A Hard Day’s Night, Help and Twist And Shout. What distinguishes Britain’s Finest from other Fab Four tribute acts I’ve seen is that in addition to a faithful execution of the music, the four guys also resemble John, Paul, George and Ringo, and assume their on-stage personas. This time for a change, I took video myself. Here are clips of From Me To YouCan’t Buy Me Love and Twist And Shout.

To further check out Britain’s Finest and their scheduled shows, visit their website. Most of their upcoming gigs are on the West Coast – given the band is based in L.A., perhaps that’s not a big surprise. They’ll be back east for a series of gigs in Miami starting in early August. But I suppose New Jersey fans may have to wait until next June when they are planning to return to Atlantic City.

The Glimmer Twins

Unlike The Beatles, I actually don’t recall having seen a tribute act to The Rolling Stones. But frankly, except for the original, I doubt it can get better than The Glimmer Twins. This band from Philly is led by Keith Call (lead vocals, harp) and Bernie Bollendorf (guitar), who in an incredible way bring to life Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, respectively. They are backed by excellent musicians, including Michael Rubino (guitar), Bobbie Corea (drums), Rob Ekstedt (bass), Rocco Notte  (keyboards), Bobby Michaels (saxophone, flute) and amazing vocalist Valorie Steel.

The Glimmer Twins play Stones gems, such as Start Me Up, Dead Flowers, Sympathy For The Devil, Jumpin’ Jack Flash, Honky Tonk Women, Paint It Black and, of course, Satisfaction. Here are three the clips from their performance last night: opener Start Me UpJumpin’ Jack Flash and Honky Tonk Women. The latter prominently features Steel – that lady can sing!

The Glimmer Twins have a long schedule of summer shows in the tri-state area and beyond, including gigs in Tarrytown, N.Y. (June 22); Sea Isle City, N.J. (August 4); Manchester, Vt. (August 10); Bethlehem, Pa. (August 11); and Riverhead, N.Y. (August 18). For more about the band and their upcoming concerts, visit their website.

Who’s Next

This firecracker tribute to The Who was the perfect band to close out the night. Their members include Bill Canell as Pete Townshend, Dave McDonald as Roger Daltrey, Mike Conte as John Entwistle and Rich Savarese as Keith Moon. Similar to Britain’s Finest, not only do these four guys sound great, but the resemblance of each to their heroes is truly remarkable. The fact that none other than Messrs. Townshend and Daltrey acknowledged the band at a Who concert in May 2014 in Forest Hills, N.Y. speaks for itself.

Who’s Next play many of the tunes that come mind when you think of The Who: Baba O’Riley, Love Reign O’er Me, The Real Me, 5:15, Squeeze Box, Who Are You, Eminence Front, My Generation, and the list goes on and on. Below are clips of opener The Real Me/5:15 and Who Are You. I got really close for the second clip to better capture how meticulously each member plays and impersonates their part. Fortunately, they skip the destruction of equipment. As much as I can see the spectacle, watching Townshend smash his guitar always made me cringe. Instead, he should have given away the guitars to schools in underprivileged neighborhoods or something like that.

For more about Who’s Next, check out their website. At this time, it doesn’t list any upcoming shows, but I’m sure there will be more. The band already announced last night they are going to be back to Atlantic City for next year’s British Invasion Festival. While much can happen in a year, I have every intention to return as well!

Sources: Britainsfinestband.com, theglimmertwins.com, whosnexttribute.com, YouTube

8 thoughts on “British Invasion Returns In Full Force To Atlantic City”

  1. Saw this on Britain’s Finest FB page. Nice write-up about Britain’s Finest, however, this does not look like the guys I know! Plus, they almost always have their logo on the drum. Perhaps it’s a band with a similar name?

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    1. Hi Linda, Thanks for pointing that out. While all three bands shared the same drum kit, which explains the missing logo, I just took a closer look at my photos from last year, and you are right – something seems to be off!

      The guys who played there on Saturday definitely weren’t the same who had performed at the festival last year. That’s when I had seen them for the fist time. Unless I really completely missed it, they were still billed as Britain’s Finest, which does seem to be a bit creepy!

      Perhaps one caveat is that I arrived late to see the evening gigs (each band played twice, during the afternoon and during the evening). So if there was an announcement in the beginning of the event that they had a stand-in, I missed it.

      What I will say is that the guys who performed on Saturday – whether they were a new line-up of Britain’s Finest or a stand-in – did a decent job.

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  2. That sounds awesome. Personally I’m dying to see a Zep tribute band, preferably Bonham’s. The stars haven’t yet lined up. I saw a Steely Dan tribute band this weekend called No Static. They are New England-based. Great show. I probably won’t do an entire post but will mention them in some roundup. Any band that can do a Dan song and sneak in the solo to Stairway to Heaven gets my vote!

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    1. I can recommend Get The Led Out, a great Zeppelin tribute band from Philly. Take it from the king of tribute bands!😀

      I saw Get The Led Out last year and wrote about them at the time. They are all about recreating Zep’s sound from their studio recordings, not trying to impersonate them. Since Zep in the studio frequently layered guitar and other instruments on top of each other, Get The Led Out relies on six members.

      Both the singing and the music sounded really amazing when I saw them. I believe they are touring nationwide, so chances are they might play in your neck of woods at some time.

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      1. Thanks for the tip, oh greatest of all tribute band maestros. I see they’re playing a couple of places here in August. As likely as not I will go. Hammer of the Gods!

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      2. I may have to wait. I scored Hamilton tickets today and they cost a fortune. Only affordable if I shelve most of my shows for the rest of the year.

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      3. Wow, with six months more months to go, this sounds like a tough proposition!

        Over the summer and early fall you may be able to compensate with free concert-in-the-park type of events, especially if you’re flexible during evenings on weekdays. At least in my area, there are a ton of such events.

        Of course, you never quite know what you get. But I can tell you that’s how I found some great cover bands!😀

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