Between 1972 and 1982, Swedish pop group ABBA put out eight albums and consistently reigned supreme on the charts.
Even though the act broke up unceremoniously, with time its legacy blew up. In the decades since its break-up, ABBA has proven itself not only one of the most commercially successful music groups of all time but also one of the most influential pop acts in music history.
Well-documented tributes have inevitably abounded: ABBA-obsessive movies like “Muriel’s Wedding” and “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” (both from 1994), the briefly huge 1990s cover band A-Teens and, most popularly, the ubiquitous stage play turned cinemusical “Mamma Mia.”
None of these homages, though, seek to expressly recreate what ABBA was doing on stage during its decade of glory. This is something acclaimed ABBA tribute group ABBAFab, which will be at the Northshore Performing Arts Foundation (NPACF) on March 14 at 7:30 p.m., aims above all else to do.
ABBAFab is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.
The band, which has been playing internationally since its inception, accurately parrots not just the look and sound of the act but goes as far as repurposing a typical stage setup. The group has proven so popular that, now, multiple lineups under the moniker sometimes perform at different places concurrently.
According to Scotty Pearson, who is the CEO of production company TAD Management (which specializes in backing hundreds of nostalgia-based shows, including ABBAFab) and who regularly performs as Björn Ulvaeus in ABBAFab shows, the formation of the tribute band coincided with the rising raves over “Mamma Mia.”
“With that musical becoming popular, really it was an easy decision to play the music of ABBA in a different way, that wasn’t the musical but the actual music of the band ABBA,” Pearson said.
An ABBAFab show runs for about 90 minutes. In addition to showcasing recreations of the band’s best-known songs, it will be peppered with tongue-in-cheek dialogue. Pearson said that to bolster audience excitement, setlists more often are founded not on touchstone greatest-hits album “ABBA Gold” but rather what’s included in “Mamma Mia” as well as the recently released sequel to its film adaptation. Pearson has found that audiences are usually most familiar with the movies.
Kayla Kenzior has been doing ABBAFab shows since 2011, after winning a TAD-sanctioned singing competition when she was 16. She embodies Anni-Frid Lyngstad alongside former “American Idol” front-runner Hollie Cavanagh, who takes on the Agnetha Fältskog persona. Like Pearson, she brought up the group’s dedication to sonic precision as setting it apart from other tributes. But she also mentioned its playfulness as being a plus.
“You can tell that we love what we do — it radiates into the audience,” she said, adding, “My favorite feedback we get, at least once a show, is the husbands that go with their wives like, ‘I used to not listen to ABBA, but you made me an ABBA fan.’ It’s such a cool thing…to be able to turn people into ABBA fans.”
Kenzior hopes that by going to the show, older audiences are “brought back,” and that even those who didn’t grow up listening to the band are reminded of happy times in their lives. Pearson similarly highlighted nostalgia and a sense of timelessness while discussing ABBAFab.
“One of the things that we say in the show is that, for us, it’s an honor to be able to play this music, because it’s great music, and it resonates with people because it’s got lasting melodies, because you can understand the lyrics,” Pearson said. “When people leave the show, we want them to be entertained and travel back to the disco era of the late-’70s, early ‘80s for 90 minutes.”
For more information about the Bothell performance, go online to the NPACF website (https://sforce.co/39PLCTm).