Gig Review: The Beatles Dub Club at The Bodega

Words: Lawrence Poole
Monday 13 November 2023
reading time: min, words

DJ Chris Arnold brought reggae, ska, Latin, hip hop, funk and even drum & bass takes on the wonderful music created by John, Paul, George & Ringo to The Bodega...

Beatles Dub Crowd Shot E1693917025790

The timing for this kaleidoscopic DJ mash-up really couldn’t have been any better. 54 years after the last number one single, ridiculously, prior to this gig, The Beatles were confirmed as being back at the top of the charts with their final offering, Now and Then. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, a vocal and melody written by John Lennon in 1978, has been converted into a wistful new track for Beatle heads to ruminate over.

DJ Chris Arnold is clearly one of those. A project of passion, he started Beatles Dub Club four years ago on SoundCloud and has since taken to venues and festivals up and down the land. Mixing a raft of hits from The Beatles' peerless back catalogue with beats, vocal snippets and choice cover versions, it makes for a heady concoction.

Running the gamut from their early rock and roll cover versions like Twist and Shout to debut single Love Me Do, the poptastic Help! and psychedelic later cuts Strawberry Fields and Come Together, it’s a breathless roll call, which is joyously lapped up by a buoyant Friday night crowd.

Spanning seventeen-year-olds frankly having an absolute ball in front of the stage to seventy-year-old nodding gleefully at the back as their youth is revisited in intoxicating fashion, it is a lovely sight to watch unfold.
It sometimes takes reminders like this to crystalise just how monumental The Beatles’ back catalogue is and all done in the space of a seven-year period which will never be eclipsed.

Arnold’s set isn’t too reverential though. He is happy to splice with excerpts from cover versions by Stevie Wonder and Jay-Z, while even Alan Partridge makes an appearance (‘What’s your favourite Beatles’ album, Alan?’ ‘Ah, that would have to be The Beatles’ Greatest Hits’).
By the time the ‘na, na, na, nas’ ring out in traditional set closer Hey Jude, a sea of arms and smiles fill the Bodega with even the bar staff downing tools and joining in.

Breathing new life into an art form, which has been pummelled more than any other isn’t easy, but props to Arnold, he pulls it off.

The Beatles Dub Club performed at The Bodega on 10 November 2023


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