Named after the skeevy cinema that was the Beatles’ first home in Hamburg’s red-light district, the Reeperbahn, Bambi Kino—Doug Gillard (Guided by Voices), Erik Paparazzi (Cat Power), Ira Elliot (Nada Surf, Maplewood), and Mark Rozzo (Maplewood, Champale)—takes an approach that is both irreverent and spot-on. The repertoire is culled from the Beatles’ expansive 1960-1962 set lists and includes songs the early Beatles were known to have played but never recorded. There’s no role-playing or wigs or leather trousers (usually). But there’s plenty of sweat, noise, fun, and the occasional toilet seat around the neck, as Bambi Kino celebrates the nights when John, Paul, George, Stu, Pete, and, later, Ringo played marathon shows fuelled by Holsten lager, Prellies, and two-minute classics by Gene Vincent, Larry Williams, Arthur Alexander, Buddy Holly, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Peggy Lee, Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, Bobby Vee, the Shirelles, Joe Brown, Johnny Burnette, Eddie Fontaine, the Shirelles, and more.
Founded in 2010 as the official band to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ arrival in Hamburg, Bambi Kino has done residencies at Hamburg’s Indra Club (where the Beatles made their Hamburg debut in 1960), club shows and festivals across the USA, and radio and TV appearances (including an Arte network documentary/concert film). Guests who have performed with Bambi Kino include David Johansen, Dennis Diken, Loudon Wainwright III, Don Fleming, Chuck Leavell, and the Beatles biographer Mark Lewisohn. Bambi Kino’s debut 45 (“Some Other Guy” b/w “Falling in Love Again,” 2010) was produced by Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne) and their full-length LP, Bambi Kino (2011), was recorded at the Indra. Both are available in mono from the Hamburg-based Tapete Records.