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Review: The Venetia Fair, Those Mockingbirds @ The Studio at Webster Hall 12.1.13

The Venetia Fair

As of this writing, The Venetia Fair have somehow managed to not kill each other on stage. The Boston band decided to take a nice East Coast tour and wanted to pay New York City a chaotic visit before the year was over. The Boston band will head on a full U.S. stint supporting California post-hardcore act A Lot Like Birds in January.

While Philadelphia rockers Modern Suits recorded their latest Promises EP in New York (Port Jefferson, to be exact), this was their first time performing in the Big Apple. That kind of experience can be either fulfilling or a complete disaster for many musicians. Luckily for these guys, the response was very pleasing. The band played cuts from Promises, including the title track and "Tongues". The band also performed two new songs: "Home" and "Tunnels", a tune that was strangely aided by two guys dancing in the audience dressed respectively in a banana costume and green man suit. Fans of Manchester Orchestra and The Dear Hunter would easily find themselves in love with their sound.

New Jersey indie band Those Mockingbirds are in the midst of promoting their upcoming album Penny The Dreadful. With the recent release of their music video for "How To Rob A Bank", it's safe to say that the buzz and anticipation is growing rapidly by the day. The band hopped on a few dates of The Venetia Fair's East Coast trek and things went smoothly until vocalist Adam Bird jokingly ranted about The Venetia Fair's keyboardist Joe Brown and his obsession with Roller Coaster Tycoon. The band played some songs from the forthcoming release, starting with the opening track "A Ballad From Hell" and headed straight into "Destroy My Love" and "Teen Fantasies". Adam slithered his guitar against the edge of the stage during "The Reckoning" while guitarist Jonathan Gianino slid around like James Brown during "How To Rob A Bank". Violinist/ keyboardist Tory Anne Daines certainly got a lot of attention that night; wearing some dazzling witch attire, she elegantly swayed back and forth on the keys. Ending with "The Difference Between Love & Addiction", Adam felt the contagious power of the guitar as he jumped off the stage and shredded until he laid flat on his back.

The Venetia Fair have been building a nice fanbase over the years with their over the top performances. Things were a little different this time around with the band bringing a new visual aspect for their set. The letters "TVF" lit up behind drummer Chris Constantino, giving off a Broadway vibe. Their live shows are anything but scripted musical entertainment; it's damn near dangerous at times.

Watching The Venetia Fair perform is like watching five atomic bombs explode in front of your eyes. Vocalist Benny Santoro channeled comedian Gallagher that night; his mustache was eloquent and his suspenders were very proper. With every mic twirl around his neck, arms and body, it was pretty hazardous standing in the front. At one point during the set, Benny dropped the mic into the front of the stage and swiftly pulled on it like a fisherman catching trout. Luckily, the flying mic connected with the wood ceiling inches away from his face.

Obviously, Benny wasn't the only member to cut loose; keyboardist Joe Brown occasionally banged on the keys with his own feet and gleefully spat water on the crowd. It was in good fun, though. The band have a unique relationship with their fans. You could just glance at their Twitter and Facebook accounts to see the calamity they produce. With merch featuring lines like "I'm fucking miserable" and "Fuck off and fuck off", a play on the virus-like Keep Calm meme, the band have shied away from taking themselves too seriously.

With the holiday season upon us, the band delightfully dug into their cover of "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch". The band also took time to perform some tracks from their latest fan-funded album Every Sick, Disgusting Thought We've Got In Our Brain, including the cut "We Used To Worship The Moon". They also ran through a couple of tunes from their debut album The Circus; cuts like "Let's Just Forget About This" and set closer "The Circus" were instant singalongs. Even with Benny's constant deprecating verbal outbursts towards the crowd and guitarist Mr. Chark holding his middle fingers at the spectators, The Venetia Fair really DO love their fans. They just have a weird way of showing it.