As “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” neared its end at The Weeklings’ concert at the Outpost in the Burbs in Montclair, Nov. 16, a musician carrying a cymbal walked out to the front of the venue’s orchestra section, and started playing it. Another musician did so, too, and then another one and another one, until eight were lined up in a row, adding to the swelling sound. Finally, Weeklings singer-bassist Left Weekling (Glen Burtnik) left the stage and joined them, playing for a bit before signalling, like a conductor, for the music to end.
It was a special, memorable moment in a 42-song (!) show that was full of them.
The Weeklings have, of course, performed quite often in their home state since forming about five years ago. But few New Jerseyans have previously had an opportunity to see a show like this, in which the four Weeklings — singer-guitarists Zeek Weekling (Bob Burger) and Rocky Weekling (John Merjave) and drummer Smokestack Weekling (Joe Bellia), in addition to Lefty — were joined by up to 10 other musicians.
For the show’s first half, the four played mostly by themselves, with occasional support from keyboardist Michael Mancini and percussionist Meredith Foreman (who later played saxophone as well). Songs in this section of the show tended to be The Beatles’ tighter, puncher and earlier material: “She Loves You” and “Eight Days a Week” and “Any Time at All” and so on.
Mostly, The Weeklings were faithful to the original arrangements, though they did make some changes at times, turning “Baby, You’re a Rich Man,” for instance, into something funkier and more psychedelic, and mashing “Paperback Writer” up with The Monkees’ “Pleasant Valley Sunday.”
They also added a few of their own Beatles-influenced originals, too — including the title track of their upcoming album, 3 — with no discernible decrease in intensity.
In the second half of the show, The Weeklings changed from blazers and dark shirts to tux jackets and white shirts, and made more extensive use of the 10 extra musicians: a string quartet (introduced as The Barefoot Strings), five horn players (introduced as The Maximum Horns) and keyboardist Mancini, with Foreman sometimes switching to percussion.
Like The Beatles in the second half of their career, The Weeklings got more musically expansive in this part of the show, reproducing the chamber-pop of songs such as “She’s Leaving Home” and “Eleanor Rigby,” the horn-led sunburst of “Got to Get You Into My Life” and the grand intricacies of epics such as “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “A Day in the Life,” “I Am the Walrus” and the last part of the Abbey Road medley (from “Golden Slumbers” to “The End”).
In this half of the show, once again, they mixed three of their own catchy power-pop songs in, too, underscoring the point that they’re not just a cover band.
Just an amazing show, really, from the buoyant opening (“I Saw Her Standing There”) to the uplifting encore (“Hey Jude”). A show that evoked everything The Beatles were, and everything The Weeklings can do.
Enjoy some videos from it, below.
Here is the show’s setlist. Songs in bold are Weeklings originals.
“I Saw Her Standing There”
“She Loves You”
“It Won’t Be Long”
“All My Loving”
“Eight Days a Week”
“A Hard Day’s Night”
“I Should Have Known Better”
“Any Time at All”
“Ticket to Ride”
“If I Needed Someone”
“And Your Bird Can Sing”
“In the Moment”
“Baby, You’re a Rich Man”
“Don’t Let Me Down”
“I Want to Tell You”
“I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”
“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”
“With a Little Help From My Friends”
“She’s Leaving Home”
“A Day in the Life”
“All You Need Is Love”
“Got to Get You Into My Life”
“Here Comes the Sun”
“Strawberry Fields Forever”
“Martha My Dear”
“Don’t Know, Don’t Care”
“While My Guitar Gently Weeps”
“I Am the Walrus”
“Golden Slumbers”/”Carry That Weight”/”The End”
Weeklings members Glen Burtnik and Bob Burger will perform at a Light of Day concert at the Outpost in the Burbs, Jan. 10, and the full band will perform at Light of Day shows at City Winery in Philadelphia, Jan. 11, and the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, Jan. 17. On Jan. 17, the band’s third album, “3,” will be released. For more on the band, visit weeklings.com.
“I AM THE WALRUS”
“GOT TO GET YOU INTO MY LIFE”
“IN THE MOMENT”
We need your help!
CONTRIBUTE TO NJARTS.NET
Since launching in September 2014, NJArts.net, a 501(c)(3) organization, has become one of the most important media outlets for the Garden State arts scene. And it has always offered its content without a subscription fee, or a paywall. Its continued existence depends on support from members of that scene, and the state’s arts lovers. Please consider making a contribution of $20, or any other amount, to NJArts.net via PayPal, or by sending a check made out to NJArts.net to 11 Skytop Terrace, Montclair, NJ 07043.