Last Saturday night, while some people paid $100 to watch two old men beat each other up, we paid $5 each to attend VenusFest in Newark. We definitely got the better show!
VenusFest celebrates women in all forms of art including painting, sculpture, writing and music. Part of the money made at the door was donated to the Newark LGBTQ Community Center. The event was held in the Index Art Center which is a fantastic space right in downtown Newark. There were paintings, drawing, sculpture, photography and mixed media pieces all over the walls.
There were also many vendors with merchandise like zines, clothing and food. It’s exciting to see so many zines going strong.
After perusing the vendor tables and art, the music portion of the night got started as the sun went down. A rap duo from Montclair called Your Mystery Guest started off the night. They had witty lyrics and fun beats that sounded great.
Then came North Carolina native Erica Russo. She was on tour with Francie Moon in April and came back to New Jersey with her for this show and another one the next night in Brooklyn. We really liked her grungy folk sound. Francie accompanied Erica on drums for her set.
Heavy Sigh from Clifton played next. We reviewed their EP when it came out and we were excited to see them live after they took a few months off to work with a new guitarist and drummer for a while. The new line up sounded great!
New York’s Turnip King played next. They had a cool visual aspect to their performance which had lots of layered sounds.
One of the NJ musicians that we’re most excited about right now was on stage next. Francie Moon is a powerful performer with vocals and guitar that move you in ways that you didn’t think you could be moved by one guitarist and a drummer. Her bluesy sound and smart lyrics are captivating. Her performances right now are especially good because she’s been experimenting with her sound and feeling out what her next moves might be musically. It’s an exciting time for her and for her fans.
At the end of her set, she did an a cappella number with audience participation that got everyone dancing, stomping and clapping. Every time we’ve seen her live, we can see new fans being made in the crowd who didn’t know her before. We saw that Saturday night, for sure.
Chimes closed out the show. They’re one of those bands that says they’re from “NJ/NY” and we went into the night not knowing anything else about them. We’ll be following them more closely for sure now that we’ve seen them here.
It was a great night of art and music at VenusFest in Newark. Check out all the pictures from our evening at the Index Art Center below:
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