Circus 2000

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1  (1970-71)

- Silvana Aliotta -- vocals, percussion

- Roberto "Johnny" Betti -- drums, percussion

- Gianni Bianco -- bass

- Marcello "Spooky" Quartarone -- vocals, lead guitar


  line up 2  (1971-73)

- Silvana Aliotta -- vocals, percussion

- Gianni Bianco -- bass

NEW - Franco :Dede" Lo Previte  (RIP 2014)-- drums, percussion

  (replaced  Roberto Betti)

- Marcello "Spooky" Quartarone -- vocals, lead guitar


  line up 3  (1973)

- Silvana Aliotta -- vocals, percussion

NEW - Louis Atzoni -- drums, percussion (replaced 

  Franco Lo Previte)

- Gianni Bianco -- bass

- Marcello "Spooky" Quartarone -- vocals, lead guitar





- Barabba 9Marcello "Spooky" Quartarone)

- Best Genius (Silvana Aliotta)

- Duello Madre (Franco  Lo Previte)

- Kim and the Cadillacs (Franco  Lo Previte)

- Kitra  (Roberto "Johnny" Bett - Silvana Aliotta

- Living Life (Roberto Betti and Marcello Quartarone)

- Ben Norman (Roberto "Johnny" Bett- Silvana Aliotta)

- Nova (Franco  Loprevite)

- Silvana dei Circus 2000 (Silvana Aliotta)

- Le Strehe (Silvana Aliotta)


Genre: progressive

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  Circus 2000

Company: VMLP014

Catalog:  RFL-ST 14049

Country/State: Torinio, Piemonte, Italy

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: sealed reissue

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 3275

Price: $50.00


Outside of collector circles, Circus 2000 aren't particularly well known in the States (or even their native Italy for that matter).   Part of the problem seems to stem from the fact the mid-'70s saw a flood of talented Italian progressive bands and these guys simply got lost in the flood.  The fact they weren;t particularly progressive (discussed below), might have played a role.  Finally, led by vocalist Silvana Aliotta, the band's repetoire was largely in English.  That was probably a disincentive for Italian fans, while  American and English audiences who might have appreciated their English lyrics, simply didn't know the band existed.


Can't say I know a great deal about their history.  In 1971 The Best Genius (great band name), added singer Silvana Aliotta to their line-up.  The group were promptly signed by the small, Italian RiFi label which, without the band's knowledge, or cooperation, released their debut album under the name Circus 2000. 

Many online reviews tag these folks as a progressive outfit.  Yeah, they're Italian and recorded during the early'70s, but personally I don't hear much of the prefessional genre in these grooves.  On songs like 'Magic Bean', 'I Am the Witch', and 'Must Walk Forever'  I do hear occasional West Coast psych influences, but even those are limited.  To my ears tracks like 'Whiel You Were Sleeping' and 'Try All Day' were far more mainstream and pop-oriented than progressive.  That wasn't to say these folks didn't have their share of talent.  As prime vocalist, Alliotta was gifted with one dynamic voice capable of displaying everything from Lolita-esque charm, to Grace Slick-styled bombast (occasionally in the same song - check out the opener 'I Can't Believe', or 'Sun Will Shine')).  Some listeners are liable to find her heavily accented vocals a distraction, but you quickly got over it.  Most listeners are likely to be drawn to the fact most of these songs had strong melodic structures and interesting textures.  Check out Gianni Bianco's bass line on the jazzy 'Try To Live'.  Guitarist Marcello "Spooky" Quartarone was also quite accomplished, having clearly drunk at the alter of the fuzz and wah-wah pedal Gods.  


So what to make of this one?  It's one that's steadily grown on me, though I'd be hard pressed to explain why.  Just to reiterate, anyone buying into the progressive narrative was going to be disappointed.  If you were a psych fan, this might be slightly more appealing, though it's quite melodic and poppy.


"Circus 2000" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) I Can't Believe - 2:25   rating: *** stars

'I Can't Believe' opened the album with a pretty, if lyrically dark (dead father), and slightly lysergic-tinged ballad.  Admittedly It took me a couple of spins to get acclimated to Aliotta's "little girl" voice, but when she cut loose about a minute in to the song, the song kicked into a totally different gear.  The song was tapped as the album's second Italian single:






- 1971's 'I Can't Believe' b/w 'I Am the Witch' (RiFi catalog number RFN NP 16443)





2.) Try To Live - 3:30   rating: *** stars

'Try To Live' had an interesting jazzy feel but in spite of Alliotta's squealing vocal, was still surprisingly commercial and approachable.  Quartarone's guitar solo was killer and Bianco's melodic bass line was equally impressive.

3.) Must Walk Forever - 3:37  rating: **** stars

'Must Walk Forever' was easily the album's most overtly psych--influenced tune.  It's also the song where Aliotta finally came into her own, showing off some of her real vocal powers.  Like all ten album tracks, the lyrics were in English, though the band also recorded an Italian version of the song ('Ho regalato i capelli)' which was subsequently used as the 'B' side of their1971  single 'Regalami un sabato sera'.

4.) Sun Will Shine - 1:47  rating: **** stars

Even though it was an extremely short song, even for these guys, 'Sun Will Shine'  managed to cram a lot of "goodness" into under two minutes.  This one boasted a great Gianni Bianco bass line, Quartarone's awesome fuzz guitar, and above all, Aliotta's almost operatic voice.  All under two minutes.

5.) I Just Can't Stay - 2:30

'I Just Can't Stay' was another track that managed to do a nice job hybridizing psych and pop influences ...   The difference this time out was the psych influences seemed to be English, rather than West Coast.   baby, baby, baby ....


(side 2)

1.) I Am the Witch- 3:12

Slapping some heavy production effects over Aliotta's voice, 'I Am the Witch' was one of the album's heavier performances, reminding me a little bit of Shocking Blue's mix of pop and hard rock moves.  Come to think of it, Aliotta's heavily accented vocals reminded me a bit of the late Mariska Veres.  The album's English version of the song was released as a single in Holland.  In an effort to appeal to  Italian audiences, the track was re-recorded with Italian lyrics and released as single:

   Dutch release

- 1970's 'I Am the Witch' b/w 'The Lord, He Has No Hands (Explosion DEX 01)

   Italian release

- 1970's 'Io, la strega' b/w 'Pioggia sottile' (RiFi catalog number RFN NP 16424)

2.) Magic Bean - 1:57  rating: **** stars

Right down to the trippy, fairytale lyrics and Indian flavor (complete with Quartarone's extended faux-sitar solo), it was interesting to hear a band from Turin could so accurately nail the mid-'60s West Coast sound.  

3.) While You're Sleeping - 2:40  rating: **** stars

To my ears, 'While You're Sleeping' sounded like a stoned country-rock song.  Pretty melody and Aliotta's frantic vocal was a treasure.  

4.) Try All Day - 2:27   rating: *** stars

Featuring Quartarone on lead vocals, 'Try All Day' was essentially a pop ballad.  Yeah, his lead guitar gave the song a touch of West Coast psych influence, but it wasn't  a stretch to imagine this one on top-40 radio.

5.) The Lord, He Has No Hands - 3:32

In spite of the somewhat awkward lyrics, 'The Lord, He Has No Hands' was my choice for the album's standout performance.  With a rollicking melody, a gutsy Aliotta vocal, and some of Quartarone most impressive feedback drenched lead guitar, this one was a keeper.