Mountain of Venus
Live, Volume 1
First Appeared at The Music Box, September 2002, Volume 9, #9
Written by John Metzger
There are countless problems inherent in the so-called "jam band" scene. Some of the larger ones include: most of the groups donít have songs; most of the groups consider a jam to be soloing en masse while paying little attention to each other; and most of the groups donít quite get that the jam band scene did not begin with Phish. Now, Phish is a fine band, albeit an underachieving one, and although it too often struggled with its songwriting, it at least demonstrated an understanding that this was a necessary starting place. So, itís always refreshing to find a band that digs a little bit deeper, and at least makes an attempt to grasp what being a "jam band" is really all about.
Such is the case with Coloradoís Mountain of Venus. Granted, the group isnít the most inventive band on the planet, but at this stage in its young career, itís normal for its members to be fixated on mimicking rather than inventing. As the groupís recent concert album Live, Volume 1 attests, the members of Mountain of Venus at least have the musical knowledge, technical mastery, and necessary chemistry to make a run at establishing itself for the long haul.
For the record, Mountain of Venusí songs are still suspect. Theyíre generic emulations, and stripped of the groupís instrumental interplay, theyíd flow by, one after another, in a long stream of bland ennui. But the manner in which Mountain of Venus dresses them up, makes them not only listenable, but often quite enjoyable. Rhythms percolate, keyboards circle, and guitars soar. More importantly, all are entwined in a singular dance that serves the song, rather than an individual musician. While the group is still a little rough around the edges ó most notably in the vocal department ó Mountain of Venus has the potential to be one of those bands that breaks its mold and finds a wider audience a few years down the road.
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2002 The Music Box