BY AURELIA MOUTON
Hard rock is making a comeback in Stellenbosch, and Venus & The Snake, a five-piece rock ensemble, is here to announce it. Like all good bands, this one has a story, harkening all the way back to 2017, when they still went by the name Southern Ground and made blues rock. Although none of the original lineup forms part of Venus & The Snake as fans know it today, they are still credited with playing a huge role in shaping who the band is now.
The band’s lineup consists of St John Calitz as the vocalist, Tara Campbell on drums, Innes Linder on rhythm guitar, and brothers Kheno Schouw on bass and Jordan Schouw as lead guitarist.
“Following recurring, vivid dreams of a woman with a snake coiled around her naked body, I immediately took out a book and quickly sketched the image—it looked shit but it didn’t matter. All that I cared about was figuring out why I kept having the same dream for two nights in a row,” says Jordan Schouw.
After staring at the sketch long enough, the name Venus & The Snake popped into Schouw’s head. His naked-lady-dream soon morphed into the logo of Venus & The Snake, and is now accompanied by a sound heavily influenced by old school rock legends like Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Metallica, Alice In Chains, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Blink-182, and Guns N’ Roses. The band also draws on the reggae and rocksteady vibe of Bob Marley.
Venus & The Snake have been around for almost three good years now. They’ve played classic live rock at Stellenbosch venues like Bohemia and Aandklas, and are heading to the Daisy Jones Bar at Orgasmic Music Gallery (OMG) next.
Commenting on the rich live rock history of Stellenbosch, Calitz says, “If I’m being honest, I don’t think we’ve established ourselves in the Stellenbosch rockers’ Hall of Fame just yet; we’ve merely scratched the surface, and still have lots of work to do before we concrete ourselves as ’local legends’.”
“We are hard at work on recording and releasing our first full album. We want to bring back rock ’n roll to South Africa,” says Linder.
Whilst the COVID-19 pandemic has put a stop to many live performances of artists, Venus & The Snake marched on steadily, citing proper COVID-19 protocols as commonplace, even in their rehearsals.
“Yes, it has become more difficult to land gigs but, in due time, I see the scene picking up, once the majority of the nation has been vaccinated. The band has taken its precautions during practice and we’ve always practised our safety guidelines, so for me it still feels [like the] same old [thing] with a few new rules to abide by,” says Kheno Schouw.
Calitz mentions that their supporters, especially the few that have been there since the beginning, are deeply appreciated, and says, “It’s all about connection and feeling like you can relate to the music and be part of it. This is what we’re striving for. I feel like the band is full of down-to-earth people who really enjoy making music, and we want to enjoy it with the world.”
Venus & The Snake will be performing at the Daisy Jones Bar at OMG on 3 September. Tickets are sold via Quicket for R90 each and the doors open at 17:00, with the show starting at 19:00. Tickets can also be bought at the door on the day of the show for R100 each.
Venus & The Snake can be found on Instagram @venus_and_the_snake