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I wanna hold Japan: Japanese Beatles hit Brooklyn

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Talk about a magical mystery tour!

An all-female Beatles cover band from Japan has flown across the universe (well, the Pacific Ocean) to make its first US appearance at a South Slope bar on Feb. 7 — but do not expect to see all four legendary crooners represented.

The Clover only boasts a John Lennon, a Paul McCartney, and a Ringo Starr, but the group is confident that it has the musical chops and audience appeal to make up for the lack of a George Harrison stand-in.

“They are cute, yet tough, sexy and, funky,” said booking agent Kaz Yamamoto. “Their set list is full of surprises.”

Once a full-fledged fab foursome, the group came together in May 2011, in the wake of the massive earthquake and tsunami that killed thousands in eastern Japan. The band set its sights on playing International Beatleweek that August — an annual festival in Liverpool, England, where cover bands from all over the world don their best mushroom haircuts and Lonely Hearts Club Band satins, and make their guitars gently weep with Beatles classics. But two of the women had to cancel their summer holidays due to the disaster, leaving remaining members Moecchy and Yuko (the band members will not reveal their last names) without a McCartney or a Harrison.

The pair persisted, and added Sherry to the line-up, who filled McCartney’s Beatle boots. Moecchy was eventually replaced by Momo, a guitarist and singer, but the group never regained its own “Quiet One.”

Still, the number of members is not what makes the group stand out, according to Yamamoto. Rather, it is the band’s high-energy, heavily-accented renditions of tunes such as “Helter Skelter” and “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” — with an over-driven, power-pop sound and a look both reminiscent of fellow Japanese girl-band Shonen Knife — that makes the trio more unique than most impersonators of the beloved British rock band.

“Their lovely look, beautiful harmonies, and energetic sound are their forte,” said Yamamoto.

At Freddy’s Bar on Feb. 7 and Prospect Heights’ Branded Saloon on Feb. 9, the Clover will play favorites such as “With a Little Help From My Friends,” along with lesser-known numbers such as “Slow Down” and “Leave My Kitten Alone.” The band’s New York City tour will culminate in a performance at the “NYC Fab 50” celebration in Manhattan, which commemorates the first time the Beatles visited the US in 1964.

But even amidst the big names that will be appearing at the event — including Al Jardine and the Spin Doctors — the members of the Clover believe they will offer something new.

“The Clover is one of the very few good spin-offs that came out of the severe earthquake that shocked the world,” Yamamoto said.

The Clover plays Freddy’s Bar [627 Fifth Ave. between 17th and 18th streets in South Slope, (718) 768-0131, www.freddysbar.com]. Feb. 7 at 10 pm. Free.

Branded Saloon [603 Vanderbilt Ave. at Bergen Street in Prospect Heights, (718) 484–8704, www.brandedsaloon.com]. Feb. 9 at 7 pm. Free.

Reach reporter Megan Riesz at mriesz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her on Twitter @meganriesz.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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