THE CASANOVAS
+ STARKY
+ THE SPAZZYS
The Gaelic Club, Surry Hills, Sydney
May 28, 2004


By SIMON LI

I still find it amazing to think that I saw The Casanovas play their third rehearsal/first gig in the late '90s at the Commercial Hotel in Northcote, Melbourne.

Then-bass player Jim Lewis's other band, Red Shift, had to pull out of a support spot and the Boyce brothers, Tommy and Paddy, joined Jim to unleash their new band on an unsuspecting, but soon to be grateful world. A few years on and tonight a different line-up is beginning their Australian tour to launch their self-titled debut CDLP.

Female Ramones disciples Melbourne's The Spazzys opening the evening and continue to impress those who catch them live. They prove quite capable players with songs that continue that seminal sound which The Ramones made ever so famous (alongside the likes of fellow Melbournians-Japan-and-Perth, Mach Pelican). Tunes like "I Wanna Cut My Hair Like Marky Ramone" and current single "Paco Doesn't Love Me" show as much. "My Boyfriend's Back" also shows an ability to be diverse, within the limitations of playing Ramones influenced music.

I left for some fresh air for much of the set by Starky. I did catch the closing few songs, which displayed a decidely Triple M/Triple J corporate rock sound. Not impressive.

So to The Casanovas who have truly begun to conquer the world with what is inherently loud, fast, "fists in the air" guitar rock to please fans of KISS, Van Halen, The Dictators, AC-DC, Rose Tattoo, etc.

The band opened with "Here's To It" from their self-titled debut album. Killer versions of "Shake It", "Break Your Heart", "Runnin' So Late" and "One More Time" followed.

Bassist Damian Campbell briefly took over lead vocal duties in a tribute to Melbourne legends the Powder Monkeys, giving it all with an impressive take on Sam and Dave's (via ZZ Top) classic "I Thank You" (which was a regular part of The Powder Monkeys live set).

The band also premiered a homage of sorts to Rose Tattoo (possibly entitled "Rose Tattoo I'll Save My Skin For You"). The current member of Rose Tattoo in the audience seemed impressed.

A major highlight of the 'Novas set, was the debut single "10 Outta 10", in which, vocalist / guitarist Tommy 'Love' Boyce called on the crowd to participate in a KISS-style singalong.

The band returned for an encore of current single "Livin' in the City'" and Ted Nugent's "Just What The Doctor Ordered", the combined effect of which almost tore the Gaelic Club to shreds.

Tagged with fellow Australian acts, Jet, The Vines and overseas acts The White Stripes, The Strokes and The Hives as part of "the rock revival/nu rock", these guys play harder than any of the previously mentioned acts. The Casanovas have always been, and always will be, (pardon this pun) 10 out of 10. They are 100 percent rock and more than proved this tonight.


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