This past Saturday, I drove up to Charlottesville, Virginia to check out Mountain of Venus for the first time. It was their first trip to Thomas Jefferson's city and they played at the Outback Lodge. This was also the first show I'd seen at this venue but I thought it was pretty cool when I checked out their website and it said that Gov't Mule and Deep Banana Blackout, amongst others, had played there. As I continued to poke around I became incredibly excited when I learned that Mountain of Venus would soon be joined by guitar virtuoso Steve Kimock in the days to come. Knowing full well of Steve's psychedelic guitar playing propensity, I figured Mountain of Venus would definitely be worth checking out if he wished to share the stage with them. Steve wasn't with the gang for this show, but they did quite well without him.

By Vic Vikers
The compositions were tight, and lead guitarist Michael Pascale and rhythm guitarist Jody Cohen meshed seamlessly. Vocalist Tanya Shylock provided solid lyrical accompaniment to the songs, which had a predominantly upbeat and positive message. Dave Gesualdo provides the bottom end with a finger-picked six string bass, and got me going real good when it sounded like he was playing the Flea intro to Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground" at one point. Mike Garrett plays the drums with a precision-guided intensity and is affectionately dubbed "Stingray."

I had the opportunity to speak with Tanya at the bar during setbreak and it was a pleasure. She told me that Mountain of Venus is based in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and that it's a wonderful place in the heart of the Ozarks with a central location that makes it a great home base to tour from. She said that the dates with Steve Kimock had been in the works for close to a year and that it was very rewarding to see them come to fruition. His interpretations of her band's songs brought her to tears! (In a good way mind you.) She said the band is really looking forward to playing with him again at their upcoming show at Mexicali Blues Cafe in Teaneck, New Jersey, on Saturday, December 13th. Tanya also gave a hearty shout out to the inspirational Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey.

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."
- Hunter S. Thompson

Ryan Blair
JamBase | Virginia
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[Published on: 11/25/03]

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