MOUNTAIN OF VENUS | 11.16 | NY

As Beardslee Castle in St. Johnsville, New York slowly becomes my regular Friday night haunt, I realize that it sure takes a lot of dancing to warm up a drafty old castle. Luckily, this past Friday, Mountain of Venus started things off right and got everybody going with the first song.

Lead singer Tanya starts off the dancing herself and you really can't help but join in. The energy of this band is contagious and their range and versatility are impressive. It's refreshing to see a band who makes sure that each jam sounds different. This band holds near perfect balance of acoustic and electric guitars (played by Jody Cohen and Mike Pascale), and a rhythm section that includes a drummer (Eric Barry) who doesn't neglect any piece of his drum kit, and a bassist (Dave Gesualdo) who doesn't even have to be in the same room to influence where a song is heading (due to the small space set aside as the "stage" he played most of the show from right around the corner, visible to the band but not the crowd).

Every member of Mountain of Venus has a strong, charismatic stage presence, but it is often Tanya who draws the audience's attention, so much so that even the drunks in the crowd stop talking and dance. Tanya sings, smiles, plays percussion (claves, maracas, etc), and dances. At one point she left the stage area to watch the band from the audience, returning in the middle of a song without even missing a beat.

Mountain of Venus is a group of happy and very talented musicians who experiment with a variety of styles to end up playing rock and roll. Remember rock and roll? It's that music that's fun to listen to, that makes you feel like you could dance all night without having to worry about getting up for work the next day. So you might not hear MOV on your local radio station... yet. But if you don't let that stop you from throwing Live Volume 1 in your CD player, you'll hear something new and something great.

Go see Mountain of Venus and there's no way you'll be able to just stand around: their warmth, their energy and the pure fun they have with original songs like "Nuno Bettencourt" (you know, that guy from Extreme), and a few well-chosen covers will get you moving and sweating enough to warm up any drafty space.

- Janis Lawrence

[Published on: 11/18/01]

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