Venus Demilo @ Studio 2
Before I get into the nitty-gritty of indie pop on Parr Street, it’s necessary to point something out, hopefully preventing your demise into the classic pitfall of ‘mispronunciation because I’ve only ever seen it written down.’
It’s Venus De-my-lo, NOT Venus De-mee-lo nor, dare I say it, Venus De-mee–lee-o.
But before we get onto the headliners, I’m going to backtrack to the beginning, and start with a few words on the opening act, AZTEX.
As I entered the cosy, character-filled cubby-hole that is Studio 2, Parr Street, the Liverpudlian group were already midway through their cracking opening set. AZTEX describe themselves as a ‘surf-pop band with a dash of reggae and a sprinkling of electronica for good measure.‘ To put it simply, I couldn’t have worded it better myself. AZTEX were an apt start to a night filled to the brim with ultra-talented musicians.
Next up was psychedelic rock outfit Indigo Moon. I’ve heard great things bouncing around campus about this band, and I wasn’t disappointed. Indigo Moon blend grit with just the right amount of honey – probably not too tasty for tea, but awesome on the ears. That, combined with a seamlessly ‘together’ performance, definitely makes me keen to see more of them in the future.
Completing the trio of support was Wild Rossa and The ’88. Here we experienced a different sound again – most obviously a blend of jazz and rock, but the band is clearly influenced by a huge range of other genres. This set was musically in sync and vocally charged; Wild Rossa and The ’88 is smooth, slick, and sax-y.
By this point, the room had steadily filled to boast a decent-sized audience in anticipation for headliners Venus Demilo (De-my-lo, remember.) There was definitely a buzz, which is always promising for a band playing their first headline show.
I first encountered Venus Demilo in all their live glory when they supported Thought Forms at the Shipping Forecast in October of last year. Since then, they’ve been bustling about all over Liverpool, playing the likes of LGOS’s Mountford Hall, Constellations and the Cavern Club – and boy have they grown.
There have been a few tricky moments, although that’s a given with live performance. But while I’m sure strings snap on bands relatively frequently and not just bassist Chrissy, there aren’t many folks that have had a set at Lomax cut short by Merseyside Police conducting a drugs bust. It seemed the fates couldn’t be entirely kind for their debut headlining night either – barely a couple of indie pop/rock bangers in, drummer Ryan had destroyed a drumstick.
Frontman Tom took this as an opportunity to explain they haven’t yet perfected their ‘onstage banter’; guitarist Reuben swiftly followed this with a couple of jabs at Tom for having previously worked in Hollister. The banter is building.
It wasn’t long, however, before a replacement stick was found and Venus Demilo got right back into their set as if no interruption had occurred.
Studio 2 was treated to a selection of energetic indie rock including a revamped version of the band’s debut single – Sinking Ships. Venus Demilo are clearly becoming more comfortable onstage and continuously developing their sound, mixing a conventionally pop character with heavier drums and songs centred around what it’s like to be twenty something in twenty fifteen. There are elements of the 1975 and Bombay Bicycle Club there, with memorable pop melodies being caressed by guitars and often darker lyrics.
Amsterdam is clearly a crowd-pleaser. It’s so catchy, it’s almost offensive. This track has definitely got the art of the super snappy hook down to a tee – if you aren’t singing it three hours later, you’re a stronger soul than me.
The band also gave a promising live performance of upcoming single Sophia, as well as the haunting Inside/Outside, which is swiftly growing on me as a track to watch. They’ve got a sound set of songs, ranging between the vulnerably powerful and the powerfully vulnerable.
Venus Demilo are quirky and confident. There’s personality shining from each member, an array of guitar faces and hair flicks, and their live talent is clearly gathering a strong following. One to watch? I reckon so.
Venus Demilo’s next single, Sophia, is released on 11.12.2015.