Maria Mar’s Local Radar: Venus Vegas

Locals, we meet again. It’s so hard to believe it’s already February! Well, I guess it’s true what they say, time flies when you’re listening to music. I know, I adjusted the saying just a little, but it’s suiting. I hope you all were digging last week’s issue with For The Foxes, for they are artists on the rise. It’s been brought to my attention that many of you have been digging the artists we have been featuring in the past few weeks, including Cara Salimando, Useless, and many more. This is music to my ears, and I will keep providing you content to jam out to. Now it’s time to get back to business.

This week I am going to spotlight a band that’s currently on my radar. This band has been featured on my show, and I was told fans wanted to learn more about them. Sometimes it’s hard to wrap my head around how many local groups there actually are, as the talent pool never seems to run dry. I find it easier to embrace this so-called “problem” as opposed to overlooking it, and focus strongly on the scene that exists. Many areas would kill for the unity that Jersey has. Here is a little suggestion for 2013; if you aren’t making friends with other bands in your town, you may want to change your approach. A music scene is based on a bunch of awesome bands that help drive interest to local music! Think of it as somewhat of a support group; you go to another band’s gig, they come to yours, it’s one of the easiest promoting methods ever created. On that note, I am going to touch on a band that I actually found out about from another group. See, my method is being put into place already.

Venus Vegas are a rock band from the Marlboro/Matawan area, and are certainly putting their hometown roots on the map. I heard about these guys through various projects that they were involved with, along with being added to the bill with local rockers, Useless. I instantly fell in love, for they are an active rock band at its finest. Featuring them on Jersey Rock was like having them in regular rotation on The Rat, as their tracks fit right in. It’s true that much of the album is radio-friendly, but in this case, that’s an optimistic thing. They aren’t going anywhere for a while, which is good. However, they’ve brought back much of the musical aptitude that was missing on their second album and combined it with some interesting choices as far as melody is concerned. They state that they draw influences from artists like “Daughtry, Breaking Benjamin, and Nickelback,” and you can hear it their sound. Not that they try to mimic them by any means, but they are following in the footsteps of the kings of that genre. Something must be right with their influences, for all of these bands are all over the radio, making millions of dollars, and dominating the genre.

Their debut record, Morning Still Life, pumps out hits. There is no dull moment on this disc, and in the words of one of my favorites, Sum 41, I find it to be “all filler, no killer.” I actually found myself having trouble narrowing it down to only three tracks to feature on Jersey Rock considering each and every song fit perfectly. Noteworthy tracks that I recommend you listen to first are “You’re Not Worth My Time” and “Sweet Elizabeth.” I also am in love with “Saints And Sinners,” as well as “Torn.” Although some people don’t enjoy mainstream rock music, at least give Venus Vegas a chance to show you songwriting-wise what we all are feeling inside our hearts and minds. They are hit makers and have a raw, hard-edged panache with mounting vocals. The music does touch my heart and soul. So, like I tell a lot of people in my music reviews, listen with an open mind and see if you end up appreciating the music as much as I do. Check this band out as soon as you can. In a very short time, this has become one of my favorite albums. The songs and lyrics have great power! I don’t get tired of listening to them over and over again, which is sometimes rare these days. This is, plain and simple, rock and roll that makes sense—strong voice, great musicians, intelligent lyrics, and mesmerizing melodies that will take you up into the sky. This is a hard-hitting rock band with a twist of philosophy. I saw this band recently in Asbury Park at The Saint. The show was stadium-worthy in a small venue, and it’s one of the best concerts I have attended lately. The crowd was totally digging it, and most people knew the words and were singing along. Venus Vegas are one of the newer bands that are carrying the modern hard rock scene on their backs right now.

So, this is just one more band to get on your radar. If I haven’t convinced you enough, maybe you should check out their tour schedule and find out for yourself. Most of them have all done side-projects or been in other bands, or may still in be another band for all I know, but either way, Venus Vegas are the perfect recipe for success. Hopefully you are feeling enlightened about some good quality music, and I will continue to do my job to bring them to your attention. Many may think that the local scene is dead; I must agree that the development of internet programs has benefited many musicians, though some believe that all music forums have killed off any local music scene and replaced them with “virtual scenes” that only exist in cyberspace. Well, my friends, it’s columns like this, publications like The Aquarian, and shows like Jersey Rock that refuse to let that assumption become a realization. Music is so ingrained in New Jersey musicians that it’s pretty much in the spirit of where we live, and no one will take that away from us. Everyone reading this column and staying up-to-date on the Radar has an awareness of the music being made around them, and understand that is was founded purely in the energies of local musicians and fans who have given their time to construct it. Until next week, my friends, keep supporting the local scene!