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At Seneca Niagara Casino, Go-Go’s prove the going is still good

NIAGARA FALLS – Go-Go’s drummer Gina Schock might have shocked Seneca Niagara Casino officials Saturday night.

During a break in a fast-paced Events Center set by the 1980s all-women band, Schock elicited a lackluster response from the crowd when she asked if anyone was having success gambling.

“Wow – does that tell you something?” she said.

Perhaps Schock and bandmates made up for it by playing for just 70 minutes before sending the seemingly satisfied crowd back to the slots.

The casino circuit is a welcome haven for post-heyday acts happy to just rehash the hits, which the Go-Go’s did in fine form over 17 songs.

Schock proved she and the band still had the beat from the get-go, with a rumbling tom-tom intro to “Get Up and Go” – answered by guitar bop from original bandmates Jane Wiedlin and Charlotte Caffey, with Belinda Carlisle sweetly singing and shouting to the crowd to clap along.

The band followed up with its 1982 Top 10 ten hit “Vacation,” quickly and convincingly reaffirming the brilliant balance between the band’s relentless beat and Carlisle’s candy-coated melodies, harnessing the closed-fist energy of punk while bypassing its fury in favor of good, clean fun.

Absent from the band, however, was bassist Kathy Valentine, co-author of many songs, including “Vacation.” She is currently suing the band, having parted ways with the group in March – and that’s not the first in-band lawsuit in Go-Go’s history. However, fill-in Abby Travis proved plenty able to lay down the low line.

Though she appeared strained at times, Carlisle’s unmistakable voice has largely withstood the test of time, carrying songs such as “Tonite” and her “Go-Go-fied” solo hit, “Mad About You,” as she traversed the entire stage with a hop in her step. Caffey’s switch to keyboards brought out the new wave in “Automatic” and “Fading Fast” – complete with a flub or two and a few laughs from a group that clearly doesn’t take itself too seriously – before a loyal cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Paint in Black.” During another cover, of the Capitols’ “Cool Jerk,” at least 25 members of the crowd were called to the stage to dance like no one was watching.

Closing with one of their greatest hits, “We Got the Beat” – complete with a midsong segue into Kiss’ “Rock and Roll All Nite” – and “Our Lips Are Sealed,” before a two-song encore, the Go-Go’s successfully gave the crowd and casino what they wanted and got gone with gusto.