A new era of British music began at Walt Disney World today with a band called English Channel taking the stage in Epcot’s World Showcase UK pavilion. The new group, which plays a “greatest hits” set of British artists, has replaced The British Invasion, a Beatles tribute group that performed in the park for the last 15 years.
Outside of Epcot, the band is known as British Airwaves. It’s common for Disney to change the names of outside musical acts who are contracted to regularly play inside the theme parks. But regardless of their name, these guys can play. There is no gimmick or flashiness to this act. It’s pure rock ‘n’ roll played by talented musicians.
UPDATE (6/22/11): According to a new press release, the band’s name is now “British Revolution” at Epcot.
So how do they sound? Watch the video below featuring one of their first performances at Walt Disney World:
While music of The Beatles is part of English Channel’s set list, their act encompasses the songs of many more popular UK bands including Dave Clark Five, David Bowie, Genesis, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Queen, Rolling Stones, and Who. But they’re not a tribute band like The British Invasion. There are no lookalikes in English Channel. Heck, they’re not even British. But they sure do know how to rock the British tunes.
In my opinion, it’s a welcome change from the British Invasion. Not only can English Channel play songs from The Beatles’ catalog well, but they venture out into more high-energy songs as well brining the UK stage to life.
Each set lasts around 25 minutes and includes a variety of songs that will change from set to set. In this first week, the band will only play a handful of songs but they told me that over time it’s likely that if you caught all of their sets in a day, you’d never hear the same song twice.
Today’s 6pm set featured the following songs:
After each show, the band is available for a quick chat and photos with guests. They’re nice guys, highly approachable and today they were appreciative of the relatively small crowd who watched them play (it was a slow day with light crowds at Epcot).
More about English Channel / British Airwaves can be found on their web site, BritishRockBand.com and they can be seen in person regularly beginning today at Epcot. English Channel plays at 3pm, 4:30pm, 6pm, 7pm, and 8pm every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday as well as at 3pm, 4:30pm, 6pm, and 7pm on Saturdays.
A couple more photos of English Channel from their first day performing at Epcot: