As far as Belmont Shore native Joey Infante is concerned, there are two types of people in this world: Stones fans or Beatles fans. Infante knows where he stands on the matter, and that's firmly inside Mick Jagger's shoes.
“They may have more pop songs, but we kill it on the live show. They're not even in the same league,” said Infante, who performs as Jagger in the Rolling Stones cover band Jumping Jack Flash. His band will battle it out onstage against Beatles cover band Abbey Road at the Gaslamp Restaurant and Bar on Sunday.
The duel is part of an 80-stop tour called Beatles vs. Stones: A Musical Shootout. The act travels nationally with performances also in Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico. Between tour stops, the show will have a three-month residency at Harrah's Reno in Nevada through Jan. 19.
At the two-hour Long Beach show, the bands will perform three sets each, trading places in quick set changes and ending the night with an all-out encore involving both bands. There will be no actual winner chosen at the end of the night, but the crowd usually lets it be known whose side it is on with cheers and hollers, said Andy Nagle, one of the show's producers.
“In our experience the majority of venues we play at usually have more Beatles fans. But what happens is that the Stones songs are so uptempo and danceable that they turn some Beatles fans,” he said. “The Stones fans, however, are more hard-core and when the Beatles play they go to the bathroom,” he joked.
The show will include some of the more popular songs from the two rock pioneers and will cover the scope of their musical careers, although the set list for Jumping Jack Flash usually includes Rolling Stones songs up to the 1980s.
The show also will be a homecoming of sorts for the bands since most of the members of both groups are Long Beach natives.
“The show has never played Long Beach before and we're very excited about doing it for the home crowd,” Nagle said.
Jumping Jack Flash could also have another advantage by coming to Long Beach since the Stones famously played at the Long Beach Arena in 1965 while the Beatles never performed in the city.
Still, while Infante is sure the Stones will come out on top, Jesse Wilder, who performs in Abbey Road as George Harrison, isn't so sure Infante will get that kind of satisfaction. But the audience will enjoy the fight no matter which band they like best, Wilder said.
“There's a lot of good-natured jabbing going on. It's just a fun time and a cool back-and-forth nonstop show,” Wilder said.
It may be lighthearted fun and a bit of competition onstage but performing convincingly as one of the Fab Four takes more than just learning their songs, Wilder added.
“It's more about the mannerisms,” he said. “George doesn't move around a lot, except just with his lower body. He has a lip curl and a little shoulder shrug he does.”
Wilder also has spent a lot of time listening to recordings of Harrison's voice and then recording his own voice to compare the sounds.
He said the band members have their outfits custom-made, since avid fans know exactly what the Beatles wore onstage during different time periods in their careers. Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' U.S. debut on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”
Infante, who bears a natural resemblance to Jagger, said for him the dance moves come naturally as will a victory for the Stones on Sunday.
“We're going to bring it all. It's going to be a night of high-energy music,” he said.