Brass Monkeys bring Beastie Boys hits to Lancaster
Brass Monkeys, a York-based Beastie Boys tribute band, prepares for their final 2016 performance with a basement rehearsal of "Too Many Rappers." Chris Dunn, FlipSidePA
Saturday's show will likely be the tribute band's last local performance of the year.
From lime green jumpsuits to bright red board game t-shirts to Japanese construction worker costumes, they’ve got the look down.
But when you call yourself the only authentic Beastie Boys tribute band in the country, the job means more than just looking the part. It means living it.
“It’s a bit of an obsession with us,” Domenic Sciortino, of Spring Garden Township, said. He plays the late Adam “MCA” Yauch in the York-based tribute band Brass Monkeys.
“We try to recreate the actual Beastie Boys concert down to the authenticity of the instruments, the clothing – everything we play or wear has been done by the Beasties in a live concert or a show we’ve seen,” he said. “We recreate visually and audibly exactly what the Beastie Boys did.”
That means countless hours of dissecting rap lyrics and watching YouTube videos to study the Beastie Boys’ movements, from their dancing to the way they hold the microphone.
“It’s a little freaky, but that’s our passion,” Sciortino said.
Kris Kostoff, who plays Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz, got the idea for the tribute band after Yauch passed away in 2012. He had been listening to the Beastie Boys since they released their debut album “Licensed to Ill” in 1986 and just wanted to keep their music alive.
“It’s pretty incredible that all four of us from York are able to play these parts to mimic (the Beastie Boys) and play the instruments they play,” Sciortino said. “It’s like lightning struck. It’s not easy to find four guys obsessed with the same band.”
Brass Monkeys played their first show at Sign of the Wagon in York in June 2014. It was a short show – only about an hour, Sciortino said. But word spread so quickly that when they performed at an open mic night a few weeks later, they had more than 100 fans in the crowd.
By June 2015, they sold out their first full-length show at The Depot in York, and they’ve been selling out local shows ever since.
Saturday is your next chance to see them live and possibly your last chance to catch a local Brass Monkeys show until the summer or fall of 2017. They’ll take the stage at the Chameleon Club in Lancaster at 8 p.m.
All four band members have full-time jobs and are involved in other projects, Sciortino said, so it’s difficult to perform regularly.
Sciortino is the guitarist and lead singer for the central Pa. act God Bless Our Mobile Home; Kostoff is a semi-professional jazz guitarist; Kirby Sybert (who plays Mike D) tours with the Philadelphia-based band Up the Chain and works on movies and TV shows like “The Blacklist” and “Law and Order”; and Brass Monkeys DJ Shawn Beck has been a DJ in central Pa. for close to 20 years.
But they make it work to do what they love.
Sciortino said fans can expect two hours of Beastie Boys music spanning all eras, about four costume changes, multiple special guests and a few surprises.
“Everything we do live corresponds to one of three things: something the Beastie Boys did on a record or something the Beastie Boys did on video or did on a tour,” he said. “If they didn’t do it, we’re not doing it.”
That means you won’t hear one of the Beastie Boys’ best-known songs, “Fight For Your Right,” which Yauch refused to perform live.
But you will hear Beastie favorites, like “Sabotage” and “Intergalactic,” as well as a few deep cuts.
“We’re constantly adding different songs and things the Beasties did,” Sciortino said. “It’s just a two-hour B-Boy party.”
If you go
What: Brass Monkeys (all ages show)
When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1
Where: Chameleon Club, 223 N. Water St., Lancaster
More info: Visit www.chameleonclub.net.