There was a wild man on stage let loose on a microphone – his legs were a tangle of untamed bounce, his arms flying freely to a cheeky tempo of common time beat. Even a flute became airborne. These on-stage antics bantered a crowd of die-hard fans who furiously kept rhythm through a fist-punching count. Crazed bop was the flavour. There was no escaping the smooth sound that fused love song ballad with classical arrangement – infectious smiles were an all-round taster; and nobody was complaining.
This was The Vaudeville Smash at the Espy, 12am on a Saturday – a bunch of six Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth boys defining what is known as, ‘Nouveau Yacht Rock’.
‘Yacht rock is a term to describe a period of music that went from about the mid 70s to the mid 80s’, said the lead singer, Marc Lucchesi, ‘think Toto… the early stuff of Michael Jackson… Stevie Wonder’.
In a few words, The Vaudeville Smash can be described as ‘breezy’, ‘buoyant’, and ‘excessively damn happy’. It’s almost impossible to ignore that foot-tapping itch – the craving to shake off those twisted steps when Drunken Cowgirl’s, ‘She boogies alright’ is sung loud and clear.
‘The most fun is when you’re at the Espy,’ Marc said, ‘when there’s hundreds of your fans singing your songs – songs that you wrote at 4 O’clock in the morning about a little event that happened two years ago cause you thought it was fun.’
The Vaudeville Smash have been gathering momentum over the past few years. With an extensive fan base, the lads are climbing the music industry hard and fast, having been featured on Triple J and touring various destinations, including Sydney, Brisbane, Tasmania, Adelaide and South by South West in America, Texas. Under the direction of producer, John Castle (Washington Bamboos, Cat Empire), their latest EP, ‘LOVE YACHTS GERONIMO’ features a 12-piece string section from the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, with the aim for a more contemporary sound- a fresher and newer take on the grin infectious genre.
‘A lot of people think we’re doing it to take the piss, but we’re not’, Marc explained, ‘we actually really love this sort of music, sometimes the lyrics can be a bit lame, but other than that it’s fucking awesome.’
The boys take their name from an Italian commercial, a Kids’ karaoke machine that entertained Marc, Dan and Luca when they were growing up in Tuscany. At age 15, Marc began Sax lessons – confessing that he only really decided to play the instrument because he though it would help him get the girls.
Along with trombone, upbeat rhythms, electric guitar, flute, bass, keys, and occasional super-fly/high falsetto (complementary of Dan Lucchesi), The Vaudeville Smash are fashioned with zestful charm.
“While we write music for ourselves’, said Marc, ‘we are very conscious of what it does to the crowd. I wouldn’t like it even a quarter as much if I only played it at home. The biggest kick we get is seeing people happy at a gig. We really love our fans – I can’t think of a better life.’
The boy’s will be releasing their new double A side ‘Breezy Summer Hits’ at the Corner Hotel on Saturday the 24th of September, joined by ‘Rosie and George’ and ‘Kate Vigo’ who will also be performing on the night. Make sure to bring along some dancing shoes, and a need for some wild, crazy fun.