Live Review: Casey Donovan shines in the spotlight of Melbourne’s Toff in Town

It’s exciting to see how far Casey Donovan has come! If you’ve read her autobiography, you’d know of her struggles and journey she’s taken over the last twelve-years of being in the spotlight. After her recent I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! win; she’s on the road with her Off the Grid & Somewhere in Between tour.

Opening the show was 2015 Australian Academy of Country Music graduate, Kaitlyn Thomas. The Melbourne-born singer songwriter has been performing since she was eight years old. Singing a number of originals, including a heartfelt song she wrote for her father (who watched proudly from the audience), but mostly singing about teenage boys (she said, as girls her age will do), and a few sophisticated covers (The Bee Gees and Melissa Etheridge) well beyond her seventeen-years.

I, like most others, usually suffer through woeful opening acts, but I was impressed by Kaitlyn’s set. In fact, I think we all were. On stage alone with her name-branded guitar; it was evident she’s honed her craft and has big things ahead of her. Her warm and quirky personality shone through her sing-along set and crowd banter.

It would be only too easy to comment on it being difficult to believe someone so young could be so naturally talented and gifted, but the same could be said of Casey – whom at just sixteen years old won Australian Idol.

Although grown up since those days, Casey’s voice is still as good, if not better; taking the stage with her four-piece band of keyboards, guitar, bass and drums. Stating she felt like a “naughty school girl” dressed in a plain white tank top under a black denim dress, complete with mid-rise black, ankle boots and signature fro’.

It’s rare to find an artist as raw, honest and open as Casey. She told stories of her cat fishing experience and past relationships; and shed tears about her struggles with anxiety (which her latest single “The Villain” talks about).

It felt very off-the-cuff, unscripted and to an extent, partly like an impromptu comedy show – unintentional of course, as that was just Casey’s natural humour. The jury is still out on whether Casey, her band or the audience enjoyed themselves more.

Singing mostly originals off her crowd-funded 2017 EP Off the Grid & Somewhere in Between, older material and some covers, including a gorgeous rendition of David Bowie’s ‘Heroes’; she gave us a taste of everything from pop to country to R&B to hip hop to big cinematic ballads with pitch-perfect range and vocal control.

She can sing anything!

The Toff in Town is a relativity small venue, so the show felt quite intimate. Keen eyes could spot Idol and I’m a Celebrity alumni in the crowd; ending the night with a duet of Amy Winehouse’s ‘Valerie’ (originally by indie band, The Zutons) alongside 2015 My Kitchen Rules contestant Ash Pollard.

I’ve been to many gigs in my life and Casey was easily one of the best. It is hard to find fault in her show; my only complaint is that the one-hour show simply wasn’t long enough.

The reviewer attended this show on October 5th.


October 12th | The Gov, ADELAIDE
October 14th | Lizotte’s, NEWCASTLE
October 18th | Brass Monkey, CRONULLA
October 19th | Leadbelly, NEWTOWN
October 20th | Centro CBD, WOLLONGONG
October 31st | Variety Rocks Concert @ The Enmore, NEWTOWN


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