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Catch a flash of the Rolling Stones

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Who: Jumping Jack Flash

Where: Buffalo Bill’s

When: Monday, Jan. 27

It must be hard to impersonate the Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards, especially if you’re a non-smoker. And especially if for two hours a night you take on the drug-and-drink-riddled Richards, who washed down his chain smokes with a dash of LSD, Jack Daniels and bucket loads of coke – and that’s not the kind you put in your drink either. But Saskatoon musician, Angelo Basilico, has managed to pull it off. He’s spent the last two years on stage squeezing into tight pants, smoking away and staggering on stage all for the art of impersonation.

It’s not all hard work though. As Keith Richards, Basilico gets to fine tune some of the most famous guitar riffs of all time in the successful Rolling Stones tribute band, Jumping Jack Flash, heading to the west coast for a brief two-week fling as we speak.

What started out as a Halloween dare among musical friends has now become a full time job for five guys from Saskatchewan.

"It was just supposed to be a drunken one-off brainstorm to become the Stones," Basilico recalled: "The Halloween gig was just for kicks mainly because our lead singer, Paul, has always been told he looks like Mick Jagger and we all knew a few of their famous tunes. But a year later people were still talking about it so we decided to do it again. It has snowballed from there really."

In two years J.J.F. has travelled much of Canada and the U.S.

Considering the real Rolling Stones have clocked up 40 years together, released more than 30 albums and performed thousands of concerts, the J.J.F. crowds are a real mixed bag.

"Stones’ fans span so many different eras, the band’s longevity is unbelievable," said Basilico. "Even with the loss of a main member at one point to overdosing, from 1963 up until now, their songs remain unmistakably popular to so many people."

Basilico said J.J.F. have the utmost respect for the band they cover.

"To be honest I wasn’t much of a Stones fan at first. They were always there on the radio but they didn’t really intrigue me. Now that I’ve studied them I have a deep appreciation. They came at a crazy time, the whole sexual revolution and drug experimentation phase, and have evolved so much over the years. It’s neat to see how their writing processes have changed and yet they still produce the hits."

The unusual relationship between the members of the Stones, namely the love-hate connection between Richards and Jagger, is also a big part of the J.J.F show. Paul Dastiuk as Mick Jagger and Basilico love to ham up the trusted but troubled partnership.

"Richards is a madman. He’s the guy that would show up on stage and fall down so loaded that he couldn’t perform. He’d puke into a bucket half way through his set and continue playing again. He was the bad boy hanging in the wings. He’s the antithesis to Jagger, who is the springy confident sex-charged individual totally in your face that you can’t take your eyes off. I think the contrast between the two works well. The ying and yang effect."

As Bill Wyman on bass is Dwayne Rawlyick. On guitar, Mike Melnyk plays Brian Jones until ’69, when he passed away, and Ron Woods on later tunes. On drums as Charlie Watts is Darren Bissette.

Jumping Jack Flash will draw from a repertoire of more than 50 songs. Two sets see complete costume changes and a decade flash by, from the ’60s to ’70s. The last set will include a bunch of fun covers. The band encourage audience participation so get ready to dress up, dance and get up close and personal with the next best thing to one of the world’s greatest rock bands.

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