Melody Maker live review, 14 August 1999

The Falcon, London
Channel 4 couldn't have come up with a better idea. Take Russell Senior, Pulp's old guitarist, get a former dominatrix to sing, add some blokey musicians and you have the winning formula for a television series. Channel 5 could've come up with better music though, because Venini are terrible.

Their attempt at glam involves calling one song 'Roxy' in tribute to Roxy Music, and their single, 'Mon Camion', being a total rip-off of Mud's Seventies glam classic 'Tiger Feet'. Oh, it might be the Sweet's 'Ballroom Blitz', but it doesn't matter: it is someone else's song. A friend leaves the gig mid-set when he realises that they aren't sampling the bassline from Blondie's 'Heart of Glass', they're passing it off as their own.

There's no originality here, just piss-stale art-school rock that's lumpy and hideously ugly. Supporters might claim they're 'experimental', but that's a synonym for trying really hard to be different and just being shit. There are refugees from the Pulp fan club present, but the two who are dancing stop bopping about after the first song, having failed to convince themselves that Venini are any good.

This band has no charisma, no presence and no fucking songs. Look, I go to 150-200 gigs a year. Most are either quite good or quite bad. It takes a hell of a lot to be brilliant and something really outstanding to be as shit as Venini are tonight. If there is a worse gig this year, I don't want to see it.

Ben Clancy