Venus headlined The Wardrobe in Leeds for the first time. To be completely honest, I wasn’t really sure what to expect and didn’t have that high hopes. Yeah, the 2 singles are great but I hadn’t found much on You Tube to suggest that they would come up with the goods live. In fact, footage of early gigs pointed to them not having that much energy on stage. Curiosity drove me to the gig more than anything – could they live up to the hype, albeit local hype at this early point in their career ? Chatting to someone before the gig reinforced my views of early You Tube footage, when he said that the couple of times he had seen them before, the grrls were quite static on stage and even though the songs were really good, he left both gigs underwhelmed.
Well, what can I say – I’m glad I missed those first few gigs because this was a completely different band to what I’d seen on You Tube and what was described to me before the gig. With the Venus logo all lit up at the back of the stage and Bananarama’s Venus blasting out as an intro, these ladies have certainly learnt how to make an entrance. Maybe Kiss’ or Thin Lizzy’s live logos are inspirations. Wherever the idea came from, you know this band are thinking big. You may think Bananarama as an intro would herald some poppy nonsense but don’t be fooled. Backs to the audience and a wall of noise and feedback the band launch into “White Lies”, anything but poppy nonsense. The sound on these videos doesn’t do the band justice – it was crystal clear on the night and heavy as shit – much more potent than the singles, which still pack a punch.
The focus is on lead singer, Grace but this is truly a band. Jess is captivating on lead guitar and through the smoke and lights Hannah and Gabby prove a driving rhythm section with Grace S. filling the sound with just the right amount of synth. This is no static performance and the band are full of energy. I know I’m not alone in being surprised at the performance.
We get “Out For Blood” and first single “Deranged” and you can literally feel the energy in the venue growing. The crowd are seriously getting into this and you can see the band feeding off the reaction as they put more energy in and smiles fill their faces. Venus are still a baby band having literally played a dozen or so gigs. They are growing all the time and their confidence will no doubt grow significantly after this show. I expect their stage presence to keep growing as their confidence does. After the gig, I spoke with Bob Brazil from their record label, Monomyth … “yes, they’re something special but it’s small steps at a time”. Those small steps look like they’re becoming giant strides.
Full set of HD colour photos available HERE for free download.
Ballad, “Amy” showcases Grace K.’s vocal talents. Given that Grace was recovering from Laryngitis, I can’t wait to hear her live at full throttle – she can sing all the notes but also scream and spit – this is some voice. New single “Sour” shows a catchier side to the bands’ set, strobe lights flashing as the audience really kicks off.
The band encore with their version Of Bikini Kill’s “Rebel Girl”, the song that galvanised the band when they first got together. Punky Riot Grrl is Venus’ roots but they have so much more to offer.
Venus play The Final of the “Centre Stage” competition on 25 July to win a slot at this year’s Reading and Leeds festivals. On tonight’s performance, I wouldn’t bet against them winning that coveted slot. Tickets for the final are available HERE
New single “SOUR” available on all major platforms now.
Check out their debut single, “Deranged” and interview HERE
Grace Kelly – Vocals + Rhythm Guitar
Jess Ayres – Lead Guitar
Hannah Barraclough – Bass
Gabby Cooke – Drums
Grace Stubbings – Synth