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Welcome to Living in the Land of Oz

Howzat! Archive - February 9th 2011

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Howzat! thought it was going to be a quiet Friday night. A mate suggested we check out a new band at Roxanne in the city. We arrive about half-an-hour before they're due on. It's a big venue and not many people are there. "This is not going to be good," we think. But then, as the band hits the stage, a couple of hundred people miraculously appear. They seemingly know all the words and they proceed to sing along. You can't help but move. The gig is an event. The Vaudeville Smash are a great live band.

"You guys just make me happy," one punter told singer Marc Lucchesi, "you're an antidote for the daily grind." While another fan revealed: "The child in my stomach was conceived to your music."

The Vaudeville Smash say they took the name from an Italian children's karaoke machine that was around in the late '80s. And they have a great description for their sound: Nouveau Yacht Rock. "Yacht Rock is a term for the smooth West Coast sound that came out of America in the late '70s and early '80s," Marc explains. "Acts like Hall & Oates, The Doobie Brothers, Toto and Kenny Loggins, to name a few. If you ever saw the 'Soft Rock' collection you could buy on late-night infomercials, you know what I mean. While we're influenced by a lot of different types of music, this period is what gets us going the most; it's music with incredible melodies and harmonies, and, in many cases, an amazing groove, made by incredible musicians. The nouveau part is just a fancy way of saying we're new."

Like the Bee Gees, INXS, Kings of Leon and Hanson, The Vaudeville Smash is a band featuring three brothers. Marc, Dan and Luca Lucchesi's dad sang Italian and Spanish folk songs and dug The Beatles. And their mum's dad was the conductor of the Adelaide Latvian men's choir and taught the kids classical piano. Marc's first album purchase was Paul Simon's Graceland ("I only really wanted You Can Call Me Al") and his first big concert was James Brown at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre. "It was also the night I lost my virginity," he reveals. "Pretty good if you ask me."

Are the Lucchesi brothers volatile, like the Gallaghers, or more mild-mannered, like the Farriss brothers? "We've done things that would make the Gallaghers look like schoolyard freaks," Marc laughs, "but we've learnt to become more Farriss-like over the years. You sort of have to, especially considering that we now all live together. There's no brawl like a brawl between brothers. The good thing is, five minutes later you're friends again. We have actually had a couple of very heated arguments on stage. I think the punters think it's part of the show - at least I hope they do."

As the guys put the finishing touches to their debut album with producer Tim Johnston, they've released a single called Roller Disco. And before they head to Austin for SXSW, they're playing this Sunday at the St Kilda Festival, and Saturday, February 19 at the Toff.

The Vaudeville Smash show a great sense of humour in their music and on Twitter. December 12: "Amazing gig in Byron Bay last night. Timmis broke hearts, Luca broke balls, Nic broke his guitar and Dan broke chairs by simply sitting on them." January 1: "Happy new year from everybody's favourite band. Our new year's resolution is to get Dan to stop eating." January 9: "Great show at the Toff last night. Crowd went a little bit nuts. Timmis got man of the match. Percy found true love. Dan is still too fat."

Is there anything Ben Lee can't do? He's now the Paul Shaffer-like music man on the Tom Hanks-produced internet show The 3 Minute Talk Show With Barry Sobel. You can check it out at

Why did D. Rogers call his new album Natural Disasters? Since he settled on that title, the nation has been rocked by floods, fires and cyclones. And then, as Dave launched the album last Friday, many punters were left stranded, battling the Melbourne deluge. As Howzat! tried to head to the Northcote Social Club, one friend pondered: "Why didn't he call the album 'Sunny Nights & Good Times'?" And Dave joked that he was going to call his next album "Perfect Album Launch Weather".

Drapht leaps into the Top 20.

Who's That Girl GUY SEBASTIAN (number 10)
Rapunzel DRAPHT (16)
Friday To Sunday JUSTICE CREW (20)
Big Jet Plane ANGUS & JULIA STONE (23)
Rock It LITTLE RED (25)
Saturday Night JESSICA MAUBOY (26)
Fall At Your Feet BOY & BEAR (37)

Angus & Julia Stone close in on triple platinum.

Down The Way ANGUS & JULIA STONE (number seven)
Twenty Ten GUY SEBASTIAN (eight)
Altiyan Childs ALTIYAN CHILDS (11)
Birds Of Tokyo BIRDS OF TOKYO (13)
Gilgamesh GYPSY & THE CAT (14)
We Are Born SIA (17)
Running On Air BLISS N ESO (24)
He Will Have His Way VARIOUS (26)
Get Closer KEITH URBAN (29)
Immersion PENDULUM (30)
I Believe You Liar WASHINGTON (31)
Midnight Remember LITTLE RED (37)

Buyer's Remorse D. ROGERS
Mark The Day LAURA
Downlow WAGONS

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