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The concert: that's what I like about the Romantics

By Dan MacIntosh

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - Hitting the stage at just after midnight on the Sunset Strip, The Romantics sure didn't look old (but they are middle-aged now, kids), nor tired. Instead, the songs they played from their new "61/49" album appeared to affect them like water from the fountain of youth. Opening with this latest disc's "Devil In Me," and closing with its title track, the quartet appeared like believable spokespersons for musical Viagra.

Oddly enough, the only time this Detroit unit appeared to be soft, so to speak, was when they played their big hit "What I Like About You." This song, which is now the theme tune for a major automobile advertising campaign, has obviously warn out its welcome with these veteran musicians. The group is now far more enamored by its greener musical pastures.

Playing a vintage Rickenbacker guitar, various harmonicas and sometimes bass, lead singer Jimmy Marinos still obviously loves the simplistic beauty of primitive garage rock. He said little, but sweated a lot, which is always a fairly accurate entertainment quota measurement. When he and the band weren't playing new tunes, they were reaching way back to their self-titled debut for "Little White Lies" and that album's cover of Ray Davies' "She's Got Everything." "Tomboy," from the group's second release ("National Breakout") also stood up well.

After watching a bored-to-tears show by this year's buzz band, The Strokes, earlier in the night, an enthusiastic show by The Romantics offered a welcome breath of fresh air and was just what the doctor ordered. They still treat this variety of oft-recycled power pop music like it's something brand new, and that's exactly what I like about The Romantics.



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