Last week The Rolling Stones celebrated their 50th anniversary, and to mark the occasion, The Pretty Blue Guns, The Bone Collectors, Wild Eastern Arches, Johannine & Kitsch got together to perform a tribute show to the legendary band.
First up (and the first of the acts I was seeing for the first time) was Kitsch. The vocals were really soft and I couldn’t identify/recognise any of the songs. The singer also looked totally bored up on stage, casually chucking her cigarette into the nomansland between the stage and the crowd and even checking her phone at one point before sliding her hands back into the pockets of her fur coat. I’m not sure if Andre Leo and Jonathan Velthuysen are permanent members of the band or if Kitsch is the blonde singer’s solo act, but either way I wasn’t very impressed…
Next up was the second act I hadn’t seen before: Johannine. Comprised of Stepdog‘s Jonathan Velthuysen and The Red Robins’ Roxy Lombard (who were later joined on stage by Pretty Blue Guns’ Andre Leo and Lucas Swart), they continued along the folky front; standout tracks were their pretty lovely versions of Under My Thumb and Wild Horses.
One thing that bugged me though was Roxy Lombard’s outfit – I know no-one complains when a pretty girl doesn’t wear pants but I thought her t-shirt and stockings combo was weather-inappropriate to say the least.
The vibe at this point was a little weird. Mercury was packed full with not only the usual kind of people but also some that felt a little out of place. It’s hard to describe, but there was something strange about it.
Wild Eastern Arches injected some energy into the night with a cracking opener, The Last Time. Unfortunately, after that I thought their other 2 tracks were a bit neither here nor there…
The Bone Collectors then took the energy up some much needed notches with another very entertaining set. Probably because they were the least Rolling Stones-like band of the line-up (excluding maybe Kitsch), their versions felt like they had the most original spin which was cool; it was also great seeing them with a sax again, especially where it was showcased like in Brown Sugar.
I assume Andre Leo was pretty instrumental in organising the show, if not the driving force behind it. Each act had played between 3 and 5 songs so The Pretty Blue Guns‘ set felt relatively supersized, though that was probably just because the songs were all quite long.
As the band has been on hiatus, their set drew a lot of excitement from the crowd. I enjoyed watching them again, especially during their last 2 tracks where the energy was truly at a highpoint; a loud chant of ‘woo-hoo-oo’ immediately broke out from the first bar of Sympathy for the Devil and didn’t let up till the last note (the effect of this was awesome – all the musicians had huge smiles and the positive mood in the room was infectious) and Jumpin’ Jack Flash ended things on a high note.
Maybe I should’ve mentioned that while I love several Stones tracks, I’m not a huge fan of the band, so didn’t recognise many of the songs. Unfortunately several of the favourites I was waiting for (Play With Fire, Paint it Black, Gimme Shelter, Miss You) weren’t on the setlist. I suppose that’s the tricky thing with tribute shows – deciding whether to play the hits or the more obscure tracks.
I was really surprised that the only time (I can’t get no) Satisfaction was played was by the DJ after the show, and virtually the entire crowd stayed glued to the dancefloor, singing along. At the end of the day, everybody loves the hits…
An odd night but an entertaining one.
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