I’m feeling very selfish these days. Last Wednesday, I saw Mountain of Venus at my favorite bar, in the middle of a snowstorm, and felt like I had them pretty much all to myself. If it were up to me—or just about anyone else at Wednesday night’s show at Cafe Zacquor in Gloversville, NY—I’d keep it that way. But now I’m hearing I have to share them with the rest of the country, not just my hometown, not even just the Northeast. Mountain of Venus is heading West, back to the mountains, spending time in Colorado, California, and the ski towns to which they have become fairly familiar over the last few years.

Fronted by singer Tanya Shylock and singer/guitarist/lyricist Jody Cohen, MOV’s vocal abilities are nearly unmatched by anyone in the “jam” scene. This may be what draws a lot of their crowd, but the creative songwriting and unique jams of the rest of the band make crowds into fans and keep them coming back. Lead guitarist Mike Pascale writes and plays music so original and fun that it completely erases the exhausting effects of a long day of work and a longer night of dancing and other amusements. Dave Gesualdo makes himself heard and admired on the 6-string bass and, with drummer Mike “Stingray” Garrett, forms a driving, rhythmic force that propels the band and the audience through everything the night might have in store.

To say this band is hard working is an understatement, as anyone who has seen them play can attest. They put everything they’ve got into every show, even the ones where the size of the crowd is contingent on weather conditions. Their musical arsenal is varied, so every show becomes its own intense and gratifying experience. MOV is continuously turning out great original songs, with music and lyrics that break into your thoughts when you least expect them and get you smiling and dancing even in the most unlikely situations. Their cover songs indicate their profound respect for their place in the “family tree of rock and roll” and get everyone laughing, moving, and shouting out requests, which are often honored by these friendly folks. Is it any wonder I don’t want to share?

The originality, sincerity, hard work, and pure raw talent of this band has been steadily bringing them to national attention. This has also brought them a lot of exciting gigs in the upcoming months, the highlight of which is likely to be December 30th and 31st at the Steve Kimock Band's “Snow Ball” at the Gothic Theatre in Englewood, CO. The band is practically giddy when they talk about this show, which is a good indication that it should, if at all possible, be included in one’s New Year’s plans. After NYE, Mountain of Venus will spend another two weeks or so in Colorado, their old stomping ground, before moving on to shows in Wyoming, Idaho, and California. Technically, they have recently relocated from Boston to Fayetteville, but in reality it looks like they will be spending much of their winter on the road. Because they will not be back in my neck of the woods until May, I would like to encourage those left-coasters to check them out and give them the attention they deserve. By the end of the show, you’ll be singing their praises and humming their songs and agreeing that they sound damn good from the middle of a snowstorm!

See all Mountain of Venus Tour Dates.

Janis Lawrence
JamBase | East Coast
Go See Live Music!,

[Published on: 12/17/02]

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