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Live Review: The Strums, Cafeine, The Solicitors - The Espy

18 July 2014 | 11:30 am | Eliot Landes

The Strums promised rock’n’roll at The Espy and that's what we got.

Through The Espy’s floorboards you can hear the feedback beginning to rumble from the Basement below. Tonight is the last night of The Strums and Cafeine’s This Is A Fucking Rock N Roll Tour.

The Solicitors open the show and do exactly what they must. It’s clean, tight and entertaining. They’re a little G-rated, wearing sneakers and suits, but you soon realise that it’s all part of their charm.

“It’s absolutely freezing in Melbourne,” Cafeine frontman Xavier Cafeine jests as he tears off his own shirt. He engages the crowd, initiating the kind of audience participation that you actually respond to. Alongside singing, Cafeine plays a floor tom that allows for some nice interplay with the full drum kit.

Though entertaining, the show gets a little scattered at times. “Never rely on this stuff,” the frontman jokes as the keyboard cuts out. “I don’t even have a credit card.” Ultimately, Cafeine pleases fans and pisses off bar staff with beer bouncing off drum kits and cans spraying into the crowd. “Don’t worry, we’re gonna be fucking huge here!” he reassures. The Canadian band put on a first-rate show.

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With beer still dripping from the ceiling, The Strums explode into their set with cheeky smiles, high energy and a song dedication to “the girl sitting alone at the back”. It’s been a long tour for the boys, but they intend to prove their commitment to no bullshit rock’n’roll until the bitter end. “We’ve been drunk every night for two or three weeks,” says frontman Jai Sparks, “and tonight is no exception!”

However, for all their joking around, the band actually showcase some serious technical skill. Both Sparks and guitarist Eric Mewburn have powerful voices and they exhibit their range with some impressive harmonies. The traditional rock structure even sees Mewburn chuck in a few blues licks, which opens up their sound. Taking up the mantle from bands such as The Living End and Grinspoon, The Strums prove to be a great example of new Aussie rock.

The end of the gig unravels into chaos as band members from Cafeine and The Strums begin wrestling, dismantling the stage and charging their glasses. Musically it’s a little sloppy, but since rock’n’roll was promised, we can’t complain.