THE Beach Boys at the BIC? That will be a tribute band then? Nope.

It may be well over half a century since they first formed in Hawthorne, California, but the Beach Boy brand lives on.

And ‘brand’ is not a misspelling – of the original five in the lineup, only lead singer and composer Mike Love and guitarist Bruce Johnston survive to play and sing on as part of the nine-man ensemble that entertained an enthusiastic, near-capacity audience at the BIC on Friday.

The unique feature of Beach Boys music has always been vocal harmony – barbershop meets rock, if you will.

This works best in a studio setting, where instrumental backing can be reined in to allow the voices to be clearly heard and the lyrics to be understandable. But a concert hall setting requires a sacrifice to the god of decibels, so instruments tend to dominate the soundscape at a live performance.

That said, there were no unhappy faces at the BIC. Fans, many dressed in beach wear or sporting the band’s signature striped shirts for the occasion, sang along to much-loved favourites such as Good Vibrations, California Girls, Surfin’ USA and I Get Around.

There’s something about a live performance that touches the soul in a way that recordings never can. And Mike Love at 78 may be the grand daddy of them all, but his voice and energy is just amazing.