Carling Premier Stage, Reading Festival, 28 August 1999
From Music365


So, Russell Senior dives overboard from the good ship Pulp and defects to new band Venini. He still sports the same air of disdain and still hides those piercing and peculiar 'I'm-still-having-trouble-with-these-contact-lenses' eyes behind blacker than black shades.

The similarities don't end there. Venini, like Pulp, spin the odd tale of seedy sex and focus upon the clouds rather than the silver lining. That, sadly, is where the similarities end, because Venini are a more introverted, darker and altogether glummer creature than Jarvis and co.

Venini are fronted by a shapely songstress with looks that kill but a voice that couldn't even bruise, a grey monotone that couldn't hope to reach out and grab you. The clothes are black and crumpled and the hair tousled from one too many late nights spent downtown in strip joints and backroom bars.

Or at least, that's what they'd like us to believe. For this isn't reality, of course, but the stuff of fiction. Venini are art school rock from the very middle of the middle class, where everything is "oh so boring, dahling" and the excluded - or 'common people', to coin a phrase - are treated with disdain, like objects of curiosity. Strange when you consider that Russell Senior's former posse used to rally against that kind of attitude.

As the song says, "I said pretend you've got no money, she just laughed and said 'You're so funny', I said 'Yeah, but I can't see anyone else smiling in here.'"

Anthony Gibbons


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