UPDATE: The Street Fighting Band put on one hell of a show at Delmar Hall Friday night. The place was fully packed when I got there about 15 minutes early, and it proved quite difficult to make it to the rail so I would be front and center for the show. Surprisingly, I found a friend who had been holding down the rail since the doors opened, and he was happy to accommodate me. The band members, many of whom I’ve enjoyed seeing play in numerous other StL-based bands, kept their energy levels high the entire show and never missed a beat. They played a full three hours with no breaks, and the audience was impressed by their stamina to say the least. Having seen several tributes to the Stones over the years, I can honestly say this was the best yet. They perpetuated not only the musical vibe of the quintessential rock ‘n’ roll band, but they also looked and acted the part perfectly. Andy Shadburne pranced around on stage exactly as I’d imagine Mick Jagger does, and Jimmy Griffin was just as cool as Keith Richards. PS: I love that thing you do with your knees, Jimmy.
Original story below.
Delmar Hall will play host to St. Louis-based Rolling Stones tribute Street Fighting Band on Friday, Oct. 13.
The Rolling Stones formed in 1962 in London, and their longevity and popularity make them “arguably the biggest band in the world,” according to keyboardist Dave Grelle.
Many St. Louis musicians pay homage to the rock ‘n’ roll band, but Grelle says no one captures the “raw energy and swagger that the Stones had” like the Street Fighting Band, although “I don’t think we dabble in the drugs like they did,” he adds with a laugh. “When you see the musicians on the bill, you know that it’s going to be top-notch.”
The band, which formed in 2011, features an all-star cast of St. Louis musicians, including members of El Monstero, the Lou’s definitive Pink Floyd tribute, and Celebration Day, a Led Zeppelin tribute, as well as members of the Funky Butt Brass Band and other local bands.
“When I was putting together the band, I wanted to get the most versatile and best players in town,” Grelle explains. “I also wanted to get a really fun group of people to pull it off because we play 30 to 35 songs in a night, and you’ve got to be rehearsing with people you like if you spend that much time with them.”
Grelle first got the idea to create the Street Fighting Band one evening he was out with Jimmy Griffin, who plays lead guitar and portrays Keith Richards in the band.
“We saw Andy Shadburne, who we call our Mick Jagger, do a set with his band [several years ago],” he says. “They did an event where they did a set of the Stones and we thought, ‘Wow, this guy is crazy talented and reminds us of Mick Jagger,’ so we decided to build a band around him.”
The show Friday offers an opportunity for those who never got the see the Stones to experience what it was like seeing the band throughout their career. “We try to divide the show up by era because they span so much time,” Grelle explains. “We’ll get a little of ‘Exile on Main Street’ and ‘Sticky Fingers’ era, and then move into the ’80s with ‘Some Girls.’ They got kind of disco-y and funky for a minute. We also try to capture the early stuff when they were first hitting the scene covering blues tunes and whatnot.”
Although the band primarily plays original Stones tunes, they may touch on a few covers. “They covered so much Chuck Berry that we usually play at least one Chuck song,” he says. “Especially with Chuck Berry passing away recently and him being from St. Louis, I think we’re going to do an extra one this show.”
Getting into character is second nature for many of the band members. “Our Mick Jagger is pretty much in character from the time he grabs the microphone,” he says. “He’s got the hardest gig, not only remembering all those lyrics, but Mick’s so notorious for that electric energy that lasts throughout the entire show — running all over the stage and jumping. And Jimmy Griffin, our Keith Richards, doesn’t have to try that much [to get into character].”
As for everyone else, Grelle says, they try to dress the part, “but it’s really just about the music, taking our time and really digging into the songs. One of the things about the Stones is that it was such a loose and raw, push-and-pull vibe and groove within the band, so for a lot of the musicians in the band, it takes something extra to keep it raw.”
Grelle notes this is a particularly special show because the band hasn’t played together in over a year. “Our Mick Jagger moved to Perth, Australia, so this is his first time back in the States since moving there. When he found out he was coming back, he hit us up and said ‘Hey, let’s do a show.’ It’s a big reunion for him, and that makes it a lot of fun getting to hang out with him again.”
Don’t miss your chance to “Paint It Black” on Friday the 13th. Doors at Delmar Hall open at 7 p.m., and the show kicks off at 8 p.m.