Matthew Bannister keeping the Beatles faith

04:03, Jun 23 2014
Matthew Bannister
EVOLUTION: Former Sneaky Feelings frontman Matthew Bannister will be among the artists taking to the stage at the Auckland Town Hall for a concert marking the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ New Zealand Tour.

Hamilton Beatles fanatic, musician and academic Matthew Bannister is warming up for his performance at A Strange Day's Night - a celebration marking the 50th anniversary of the Fab Four's New Zealand tour. 

Bannister has well and truly earned his Abbey Road stripes - and the respect of Beatles aficionados worldwide - following the release of his innovative and highly acclaimed album Evolver, his personal tribute to the Beatles hit LP Revolver.

The Beatles played the Auckland Town Hall on June 24 and 25, 1964. Fifty years later, Beatles songs will again rock the same stage over two nights at the concert, a fundraiser for the Play It Strange charity, featuring more than 150 New Zealand artists covering the breadth of the Beatles' oeuvre.

Pop stars such as Bannister - the former frontman for Sneaky Feelings and the Dribbling Darts of Love - as well as Tim Finn, Graham Brazier, Jordan Luck, Eddie Rayner, Jason Kerrison, Fiona Macdonald, SJD and others will play with emerging young performers from a variety of Auckland secondary schools.

Bannister said he would be performing the songs Tomorrow Never Knows and Got to Get You Into My Life - both from Revolver.

''Evolver was an attempt to reinterpret the songs off Revolver in the way that the bands the Beatles influenced might have played them,'' Bannister said.


Tomorrow Never Knows was translated to early 90s Manchester indie dance, while Got to Get You Into My Life was given a pop-rock-punk makeover - ''the traditional speed it up and make it faster treatment,'' Bannister laughs.

It was circumstance that got Bannister involved in the creation of Evolver, which was originally a student project at Wintec, where he teaches.

''I was peripherally involved. When it fell over I felt it would be a good thing to just do myself.''

Revolver was an album packed with Beatles classics, he said.

''Unlike their other albums there are no conkers there. Revolver is very consistent all the way through.''It's not his favourite Beatles album though.''

That would be Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. There's a unity of mood and feeling to it, unlike none of their other albums.

''Beatles albums are like your friends though. It doesn't feel right to rank them in some way.''

Originally from Scotland, Bannister was closely associated with the Dunedin Sound of the late 1970s and 80s in bands including Sneaky Feelings, the Dribbling Darts of Love, and the Weather.He came off the road - the life of a touring musician - in the early 00s and completed a PhD in media studies through Auckland University before taking up a position as a post- graduate theory supervisor at the Waikato Institute of Technology.Performing in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin, The Beatles played two shows per day, at 6pm and 8.30pm. All the shows were barely 30 minutes long, with only 11 songs per set.

The full list of artists performing at A Strange Day's Night are:

Tuesday June 24

Don McGlashan


Mike Chunn

Fiona McDonald (Headless Chickens)

The Camel Toes

The Backbeat Band

Tim and Harper Finn (Split Enz)

Graeme Brazier and Harry Lyon (Hello Sailor)

Jed TownGrace Brebner

Kaipara College


Fletcher Mills 

Wednesday June 25

Leza Corban (Strawpeople)

Peter Urlich (Th' Dudes)

Jason Kerrison (Op Shop)

Eddie Rayner (Split Enz)

Jimmy Christmas (D4)

Geoffrey Chunn (Citizen Band)

Rezonation St Cuthbert's Choir

Matthew Bannister (Sneaky Feelings)

The Backbeat Band

Jordan Luck (The Exponents)

Sacred Heart College Band

Tim and Harper Finn (Split Enz)

Fletcher Mills