Blow-Up, Soho Wag Club, London, 2 October 1999

The Venini show at the Soho Wag Club, in London on October 2, 1999 was unfortunately less than jubilant. Seemed like fewer than a dozen people came specifically for Venini and not the pre and post show retro deejay. And out of the Venini-attentive everyone was solely focused on Russell.

Despite, Venini played a tight, fun set. Nick Eastwood’s stumbling into the wall technique has not been so perfected since the likes of Sid Vicious. Very entertaining, really. Debbie Lime, lead singer, is just too cute for words. Actually, that's not true. Some male audience members found some words: "baby", "take it off", "mama". Debbie’s model perfect body, styled coif and attitude to match was just too distracting for the inebriated mob. A hotty singer belting unmemorable lyrics like "I know I can, I know I can, I know I can get a perfect tan" is a perfect pop recipe, but can leave unfocused audiences lost.

This crowd was just not ready for that combination. Some yobbos got chucked out for moshing (?), one guy even fell asleep in a chair in the front row with his head propped up against the blaring right speaker. The best reaction was a few who tapped their toes or ambivalently nodded.

Since all the songs were new to most, no one song stood out. A big event midway through the show was Russell shedding his trademark shades. Debbie took a photo of the crowd, and Nick continued to use his body and his bass as a battering ram against the innocent (and very thin) wall. As with most bands, unfortunately, the drummer went unnoticed.

I believe Venini achieved their aim (my opinion of their aim, rather). They played stylish pop music and looked really cool while playing it. What Russell said about his last project Baby Birkin probably applies to Venini as well - "it’s not important music". But that’s alright by me.

Alex Shelley