Say ‘ELO’ to award winners Experience
The UK’s top tribute band dedicated to the music of Jeff Lynne and the Electric Light Orchestra – The ELO Experience – is gearing up to tour the country throughout the year, and they are celebrating.
The tribute band, formed in Hull more than a decade ago, have been building up their fan-base with excellent reproductions of the very best of the iconic Birmingham band, writes MARTIN HUTCHINSON.
In 2018, they received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the National UK Tribute Bands Awards.
“That was amazing,” lead singer and founder-member Andy Louis says. “We have worked hard for years at this, introducing at least one new song per year.”
In 2012, they were named Britain’s best tribute band and have gone from strength to strength with great musicians and superb backdrops and animations (their Lego version of The Diary Of Horace Wimp – a song that the original ELO never performed live – is very clever).
The band’s set contains all the ELO classics like: Sweet Talkin’ Woman, Wild West Hero, Turn To Stone and the anthemic Mr Blue Sky.
Andy, a lifelong ELO fan, says that it was ELO that got him into wanting to perform the band’s music.
“Yes, it was the album ‘Discovery’ (the album that followed ‘Out Of The Blue’). The album is the reason I got into wanting to do ELO music,” he says.
“Everybody has a favourite album, one that was an integral part of their teenage years, and that was mine.”
The band covers the whole of ELO’s career, and also sometimes includes a Travelling Wilbury song (the band Lynne formed with George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and Roy Orbison), they even do When I Was A Boy from the latest ELO album.
But Andy has always had the ambition to perform the whole of the ‘Out Of The Blue’ album.
“Some of the tracks, like the instrumental The Whale, may not appeal to the audience, but a couple of years ago we had 11 songs from the album in the set to pay homage to the 40th anniversary of the album.”
“Jeff wrote some great slow ballads,” Andy explains, “but we like to go for the more upbeat songs – especially in the second half of the show.
“We’re always ironing things out in some of the songs, but we have them in a format that we can play live.
“We also play a song from the reissue of ‘Out Of the Blue’ called Latitude 88 North that always goes down well; and the version of Xanadu Jeff recorded in 2003 for the ‘Flashback’ compilation. I don’t do the Olivia Newton-John version though, as I don’t like wigs.”
He grins. But the band will still play the hits.
“Of course,” Andy smiles. “You can’t leave the greatest hits out as most of the audience come for those.”
It is a show where the audience really join in, dancing and singing along.
“Yes, and it’s great to see.” Andy tells me.
“People know what they’re coming to see and we do what we call an ‘umbrella’ show and try to do a balance of songs. Those that will appeal to everyone, and some that will appeal to the die-hard ELO fans.
“The thing is that we always play songs that we like, which is mainly the catchy and popular songs.”
Ever the ELO fan, there are some songs that Andy would like to play.
“Yeah, there’s always songs I’d love to do, for instance So Fine from the ‘A New World Record’ album. But it’s what to leave out to make way for it that’s the problem.”
The ELO Experience will be appearing at Lynn’s Corn Exchange on Friday, February 15.