This is a review of The Eggmen at Hanovers on Saturday, March 24, 2012.
The Eggmen are hands-down the most renowned tribute band in Austin. In 2012, they won "Best Cover Band" in the Austin Music Awards for the ninth time (number nine, number nine, number nine).
It was this reputation that brought a group of Beatles-aficionado friends to downtown Pflugerville, Texas to catch The Eggmen at Hanovers Draught House. You could say that expectations were high among this crew. They'd read The Eggmen hype. Previously, they'd been patrons of the Broadway touring production Rain – A Tribute to the Beatles and are regular attendees of shows by Me & My Monkey, a spot-on Beatles tribute band in Dallas.
Hanovers' $8 cover charge was a bit of a surprise—a premium price in Austin, and very high for the suburbs. The show was also advertised as a 9:30PM start, so it was a bit awkward that the band was arriving at that time and didn't get started for another hour. But on to the show...
For many Beatles fans, the attraction of tribute shows is the attention to the most minute of details. For Beatles tributes, ensuring the bass player is left-handed like Paul McCartney is a must. Changes of outfits from mop-top to hippie-era is pretty standard, as well. Authentic equipment is also of the utmost importance (Paul's Höfner bass, George's Rickenbacker guitars, etc.). And, of course, the music must be note-for-note perfect.
With this precision in mind, it was a surprise before The Eggmen played their first note that there were five of them. A fifth Beatle? Maybe Stu Sutcliffe? Pete Best? The fifth Eggman sang some lead vocals, and played percussion & keyboards. His voice was good, but a keyboardist Beatle? This qualifies as strike against The Eggmen for avid tributeers.
Then there was the appearance. None of The Eggmen look particularly like any of The Beatles, and nary a mop-top wig was to be found. For what it's worth, Nigel the Eggman bassist bears a striking resemblance Beatles' long-time road manager Mal Evans, and The Eggmen's 'George Harrison' looks a little bit like Blondie bassist, Nigel Harrison.
On the upside, The Eggmen are certainly a good band. They have succeeded for 20 years in a musically critical town because they play well and nail their vocal harmonies. They incorporate both acoustic and electronic sound effects that mirror various noises on Beatles albums, from an actual alarm clock in "I Am The Walrus" to horn parts done on the fifth Eggman's keyboard.
The Eggmen did one costume change at Hanovers, from the early-era black suits to psychedelic tie-dye for their second set. It seemed a bit half-hearted, though, as their Facebook page shows them wearing Sgt. Peppers-era marching band uniforms.
The Eggmen are the most popular tribute band in Austin. But if you want a spot-on re-creation of your Beatles, you'd be better served to drive 3 hours north on I-35 to check out Me and My Monkey. The downside of that, of course, is that after the show you're in Dallas instead of Austin.