US Stones

Published on June 1st, 2018

Oscar Wilde is famously misquoted as saying, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery … ” Because he added, “ … that mediocrity can pay to greatness.” Ouch. And while high-nosed snobbery was fine for vastly literate 19th Century dandies, here in the age of tribute bands and touring Dio holograms, we’re talking about rock ’n’ roll  — specifically, U.S. Stones, a Rolling Stones tribute that does these lords of the British Invasion justice.

If you don’t follow the whole tribute-or-covers debate: A cover band is a bunch of schlubs yawning out other people’s music while nursing light beers; a tribute band celebrates a great act at its peak. Guns Ní Roses tributaries, for example, dress like the classic GNR lineup and mainly play songs from “Appetite for Destruction.”

In a way, tribute bands become almost more important to legacy upkeep than the original, because the tribute gives the audience literally everything it wants. Yes, the real Stones still tour, but have you seen the ticket prices? Plus there is only so much willful blindness you can muster for a 56-year-old rock band running on replacement parts. With U.S. Stones you can just suspend your disbelief and sink into the fantasy being created for you. It’s 1972, and this is the Stones playing “Exile on Main Street.” Now it’s 1978, and “Some Girls” is pouring from the speakers. And on and on.

One could further argue there is nothing mediocre about re-enacting a band’s past glory: These players have to be the best possible version of Keith Richards and Mick Jagger and everybody else night after night. Keith himself just has to be Keith; dude gets paid to be a functioning mess. Imagine having to maintain oneself as a pitch-perfect, rail-thin, younger Mick facsimile — probably without access to the kind of self-care that Actual Mick enjoys. Think this gig is easy? Think it’s cake? Yeah, no, just give me an office job, thanks, and let me watch US Stones pay their sincerest regards to greatness.

U.S. Stones play the Meyer Amphitheater 4pm. June 17, part of West Palm Beach’s Sunday on the Waterfront free-admission concert series. ~ Tim Moffatt

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