In a short span of time, the group articulated several ideas that resonated strongly with listeners around the Richmond music scene. For many, the first song heard by the group was what might have appeared as a protest of an establishment in town. After a few listens, it became clear to me that the song represented something so much more.
It was an ode to anthems of the past when younger generations take the helm and claim a space for themselves. In the grand scheme of things, there are movements meant to traverse beyond the comforts of the ways things operated in the past. This progressive thought is necessary to move forward within any creative movement. It felt like a voice that was claiming that you can have your place. I’ll just create my own because that’s the world I want to live in.
Venus Guytrap were the band that laid everything out in brutally honest, insanely catchy and wonderfully written songs. The group were never shy to discuss emotional and physical abuse and the remaining turmoil that lingered with every screamed word.
The Jell-O Shot Demos expressed this sentiment perfectly with “Donna, Where Are The Chickens?” What begins with a few subtle sways immediately explodes as bassist/vocalist Sammi Lanzetta never lets up as she wonders how far behind the world can be when we should be so much further ahead. Drug abuse, familial woes and mental health were quick to be addressed. In many ways, the greatest strength was making the conversation public through songs to make anyone ailed by anything sung about to feel less alone.
The real gem of the trio of songs featured on this demo collection is “Prommunism.” Even as the song begins, I remember immediately thinking of the opening of “Undone (The Sweater Song)” by Weezer. As the conversations and noises heard from an ongoing party introduce the tune, the group eventually arrive to take the attention of the listener.
This song also represents an idea that always felt to be the heart of Venus Guytrap. These songs seemed like the extensions of lessons found in a number of nineties rock outfits. Take Hole, Weezer, The Breeders, Mazzy Star, Pavement, Sleater-Kinney and numerous others and extrapolate all of the ideas that can be caressed from there and you get close to getting a good idea of the inspiration behind Venus Guytrap.
The trio cemented a reputation fairly quick and the only downside for me is that there are a number of songs that might never see the light of day that were equally as great as the three featured on the demos. Songs like “Cherry Valence” or “Human Spine Library” or “34” are equally as startling and give voice to thoughts and concerns that might not typically get sung about in rock songs. Nonetheless, the attitude and spirit of Venus Guytrap will never dissipate as I imagine all of the members will remain active participants within the local scene. For one last time though, you might want to take a second to celebrate one final set from the beloved Richmond outfit before they call it a day.
Catch Venus Guytrap at their last show tonight at Strange Matter alogn with Camp Howard and Palehound. Doors at 8 pm. $10 cover.
Courage Music Photography and Jake Cunningham