There is no quintessential American rock and roll band more beloved than the Beach Boys. Their California sound captured the essence of surf culture with soaring vocal harmonies and innovative musical stylings that helped define an era.
The group’s iconic music is coming to Laguna Playhouse Jan. 23–26 courtesy of the tribute band Surfin’, named after the first record released by the Beach Boys in 1961.
Surfin’ captures the sound made famous by the original lineup, consisting of brothers Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson, their cousin Mike Love, and their friend Al Jardine.
According to the Laguna Playhouse, Surfin’ is “a faithful recreation of what it would have been like to see the Beach Boys live, in concert, in their prime. The incomparable beauty of their vocal harmonies, the crashing back beat of Dennis Wilson’s drums, the soaring surf guitar of Carl Wilson, and the genius of Brian Wilson’s music, the uniband choreography, the Fender guitar line up, the famous custom striped shirts, right down to the black suede Beach Boys boots, it’s all here.”
The musicians in Surfin’ have played with major rock artists, including one member who toured with the real Beach Boys and has been a long-standing member of the Brian Wilson Band.
The Surfin’ show is hosted by Newport Beach resident Brian Beirne, aka “Mr. Rock N’ Roll,” who spent 29 years at Oldies Radio KRTH 101 in Los Angeles — the longest continuous stint in FM radio history, and second all-time in Los Angeles radio history for longevity at one station.
Not only is Surfin’ hosted by Beirne, he presents Surfin’ and other tribute acts as part of his Legendary Shows company.
“Music has been my whole life, so when I got off the air after 40 years — 29 plus at KRTH — I had to do something, so I started an entertainment company,” Beirne explained during a recent phone interview. “It’s been a wonderful ride because I get to travel around the world with a lot of the shows.”
At the Laguna Playhouse performances, Beirne will introduce the show and provide historical context to the music.
“I first met the Beach Boys in the early 1960s and we became friends,” Beirne said. “What we have done with Surfin’ is to recreate what it was like to see and hear the Beach Boys and be at a show in the golden age of rock and roll, from the Fender amps and guitars to the trademark shirts.”
Beirne said he first met the guys in Surfin’ nine years ago when they were first starting out and booked them for a show on the Malibu pier, hoping they could pull off a good Beach Boys tribute. They passed the Beirne test, and he has been working with them ever since.
“We created this show, the look and the sound, and we’ve been very successful with it,” he said.
One reason for the show’s success, according to Beirne, is that the Beach Boys have a wonderful catalogue of music.
“It’s timeless music. I don’t think their sound will ever die. It’s always fresh and timeless, whether you’re 7 or 67,” he commented.
Beirne noted that the Beach Boys’ 1966 album Pet Sounds, which has been considered by many critics to be among the most influential albums in the history of music, is a masterpiece.
“It’s the zenith of the Beach Boys, musically and artistically,” Beirne said. “Of course, the Beatles wanted to outdo it, and their idea was ‘Sgt. Pepper.’”
This weekend’s Surfin’ show is the first time Beirne has had one of his acts perform at Laguna Playhouse, and he admitted he’s excited to be there — and not just because it’s a short drive down the coast from his home in Newport.
“This is going to be ‘Fun, Fun, Fun,’” joked Beirne, quoting a popular Beach Boys song.
He might add “Do It Again,” his favorite Beach Boys song, because once audiences experience the Surfin’ show, they’ll want to come back for more.
Show times for Surfin’ are Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday matinee at 2 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m.
For tickets and more information, visit LagunaPlayhouse.com.