Bambi Kino is the name of an adult cinema in Hamburg, Germany. But it’s most famous not for showing skin flicks (Debbie Does Dresden?), but for temporarily housing a then-unknown mop-topped rock quartet that would later be known as The Beatles.
It’s also the name of a new band (featuring members of Nada Surf and Guided By Voices) out to recreate the youthful energy of the Fab Four’s Hamburg gigs as the city celebrates the 50th anniversary of their shows there.
Bambi Kino is Nada Surf drummer Ira Elliott, Mark Rozzo of Elliott’s other band Maplewood, former Guided By Voices guitarist Doug Gillard and Erik Paparazzi, who plays bass for the Dirty Delta Blues Band, Cat Power’s backing ensemble.
According to the band’s MySpace page, Elliott and Rozzo got the idea for the project while touring in Germany. They got together, recorded a single (“Some Other Guy”)—in mono, natch—and hatched a plan to recreate the spirit of the Hamburg shows. Bambi Kino will play a setlist based on their research and bootleg recordings, that would best match what the Beatles would have played in their early years.
The band insists that the act isn’t your standard stodgy, county fair-style Beatles tribute, though. “There’s no role-playing or leather suits,” Rozzo says on the band’s MySpace page. “We’re not a tribute band, except in the sense that it’s our generation paying homage to what the Beatles made possible for all musicians everywhere.”
Bambi Kino played a preview gig at New York’s Bowery Electric in June and will set up camp for a string of performances at the Indra Club beginning on Aug. 17. Their first Hamburg show will be broadcast live on radio station NDR 90.3 and ARTE Television will record the show and rebroadcast it Aug. 22.