Angelina Jolie with a shaved head, running through New York City wearing nude satin lingerie and a black fur coat. That scene from the 1997 music video for “Anybody Seen My Baby” was my introduction to The Rolling Stones, and it changed my life forever.
Nineteen years, four concerts, countless memorabilia and one tattoo later, Mick and the boys are still, unquestionably, my favorite band. When the Bunkhouse announced it would host a Stones tribute show the day after Christmas, I squashed plans for a Chicago trip to see family. Seriously.
It was worth it, with one relatively minor complaint: Some bands took longer to set up than they did to perform, which slowed the energy during the show’s first half. But by 9:45 p.m. the crowd was lively and elbow to elbow during Same Sex Mary’s version of the raunchy “Schoolboy Blues” (aka “C*cksucker Blues”). “I ain’t got no money, but I know where to put it every time,” frontman James Adams yelled, right before guitarist Brian Cantrell exploded with a modernized solo. That song kicked off the evening’s louder half, which also included re-energized versions of “19th Nervous Breakdown” and “She Said Yeah” from The Astaires, featuring Cromm Fallon’s vocals and ’60s mod-look not far off from Jagger’s own.
Vegas rockabilly group The Lucky Cheats delivered a walloping, bluesy set—showcasing sizzling harmonica work from Jeffrey Koenig—starting with Exile on Main St. cut “Shake Your Hips” and ending with Let It Bleed’s “Midnight Rambler.” And we got a true-to-the-original rendition of “2000 Light Years From Home” by The Laissez Fairs (featuring Fallon’s father and Steppes guitarist John Fallon), with keyboardist Joe Lawless pushing the song’s psychedelic boundaries.
The Bunkhouse Band, with Ryan Pardey on vocals, picked things up with a set of classics (“Beast of Burden” and “Get Off My Cloud,” to name a couple) and then it was time for the headlining act, The Satanic Majesty, led by Mark Stoermer, bassist for The Killers. The group opened with “Paint It Black,” driven by that iconic, swelling bassline (played by Jason Aragon), followed by a barrage of hits like “Satisfaction” and “Play With Fire,” the latter with a brooding Stoermer on vocals. But the standout moments of the set—and the entire night—revolved around Clydesdale singer Paige Overton, who added incredible intensity to “Angie” and “Brown Sugar,” and re-created Merry Clayton’s legendary, bursting vocals on “Gimme Shelter.” The crowd went wild, and it surely would have impressed the Stones, too.