The Counterfeit Stones @ Robin2, Bilston, 3rd April 2010

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It was a night of tributes to two iconic bands, the Stones and the Beatles, but the styles couldn’t have contrasted more. The Counterfeit Stones returned to the Robin2 Club to give a colourful performance, following the supporting act Mike Surman, aka ‘John Lennon’ of The Naked Beatles.

Mike Surman, on harmonica, guitar and vocals was accompanied on guitar by his co-Naked Beatle, Rupert Doley, aka ‘George Harrison’, and gave solid acoustic renditions of classic Beatles favourites. Performing tonight as a duo they are part of the fab foursome tribute band The Naked Beatles, which was formed by Mike about 1½ years ago.

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The Counterfeit Stones gave a raucous performance, their alter egos dipping into caricature. The almost miraculous transformation of Steve Elson into ‘Nick Dagger’ was brought about by continuous posturing and gesture as much as costume — not to mention the superb Mick Jagger accent! The energy and enthusiasm of his performance soon had the crowd joining in. His stamina to remain in character and produce a high octane routine was amazing. Only the occasional smile showed the man behind the mask enjoying the joke with his audience.

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Bill Lennon, aka Keef Rikard, provided a focus for most of the drug and booze references, with innuendo about the ages of female conquests. Throughout the night he took swigs from a bottle of Jack Daniels handily positioned on the drum riser. Dave Birnie, aka Ronnie B. Goode, looked far too healthy for Ronnie Wood. Alan Mian on bass, aka Bill Hyman, maintained a low key presence in keeping with his alter ego.

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John Pryon on drums, aka Charlie Mott, gave a most impressive performance. This was understated with a perfect replication of the head positioning of Charlie Watts. There was no need to suspend disbelief as, without an over-reliance on costume, he was spot-on. I confess to doing a double take to make sure!

The Counterfeit Stones expertly rendered the best and most loved of the Stones play list from ‘Paint it Black’, which generated enthusiastic audience participation, to the soulful ‘Angie’. According to The Guardian newspaper, they are ‘better than the originals’ and certainly if you closed your eyes and listened you would find a lot of truth in that. Their attention to the detail including the costumes, mannerisms and the use of original vintage instruments, notably Keef’s ‘Flying V’ guitar (this was a great night for guitar spotters), made this a great night’s entertainment.

Set list:
I wanna be your man
Route 66
It’s all over now
The last time
Out of time
Paint it black
Ruby Tuesday
It’s only rock and roll
Sympathy for the devil
Time is on my side
19th nervous breakdown
Get off my cloud
You can’t always get what you want
Street fighting man
Let’s spend the night together
Gimme shelter
Miss you
Jumpin’ Jack Flash
Honky tonk women
Brown sugar
Start me up
(I can’t get no) satisfaction

Review – Pat Duke
Photos — John Bentley

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