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The best kept secret in music


"Vagenius Throws Down in LA"

It was Friday night and I was fired up to see this great new band that has recently emerged from the LA music scene. The band in question is called Vagenius and they were playing at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood. The buzz surrounding this band, at least in and around LA, is fairly substantial, so much so that I had seen them perform months ago and even purchased their CD at that show. Since then their songs have been running through my head, their CD nearly always blasting from my car stereo. But this was the first time I was able to see them back on their home turf as they've been touring the country for the past few months (I was lucky enough to see them to play at this year's CMJ Music Marathon in late October in New York, though). Needless to say I was excited and eagerly awaited seeing if they could hold up to my expectations after seeing their searing show in NYC and incessantly listening to their EP.

When I walked into the Knitting Factory I saw the most random group of people that I've seen at a show in a while. The reason for the diverse make-up of the crowd was because Vagenius was opening for the '80s rock band, The Alarm, which had brought in people of the thirty and fortysomething generation, obviously reminiscing of their past glory days from 20 or so years back. Mix this with the young Vagenius fan base that ranges from local high school boys and girls to mid twentysomething music hipsters and you had a venue that was packed with energy and ready for some music that would make them move.

When Vagenius came out I immediately remembered how impressively complex their music was considering that there are only three people in the band. The band is lead vocally by the beautiful Juliette, who radiates style and sass with a keytar (that would be keyboard guitar) slung around her neck and a voice that makes you melt with pure pleasure. On this night she was dressed in a sleek, all black outfit. She was also sporting a feather earring one of her ears, the length of which slid delicately down her neck While Juliette is undoubtedly the focal point of the band, backing her up were two lucky guys who both managed to hold their own musically, one playing an upright drum kit (combining a classic kit, as well as electronic drums) while standing and the other playing a number of instruments, switching from the bass, guitar, and keyboards while at the same time playing bass pedals with his feet. Together these three amazing musicians unleashed a sound that fused old school Madonna with Van Halen while taking the necessary sonic steps forward, bringing it all to another level entirely.

Juliette opened the set by warning the audience that this was their first show in LA in nearly two months and that the crowd better be ready to f@#king dance. She continued to let us know that the opening song, "Robody," had been inspired by her sister's relationship with a vibrator. Naturally this stoked a fire beneath the audience and as the first pulsating notes began, the place lit up. From this incendiary beginning, the show took all in attendance on a veritable sonic journey. Songs like "Plain and Simple" featured heavy synthesizer hooks that made me feel like I was riding shotgun in Crocket's Testerosa during a forgotten episode of Miami Vice, while "Breaking Up Somebody's Home" rocked to a futuristic blues sound that could probably be heard playing in an underground jazz club in the near Blade Runner future. Other songs like their post modern anthem "Dryland," caused the audience to put their hands in the air as Juliette sang the chorus, while "Es Tu Vida," which was a Spanish song, truly showcased the band's instrumental skills, giving us a bass solo that drew an applaud mid song.

Vangenius' eclectic sound kept the crowd's attention rapt throughout the set thanks to their extraordinary musical skill, intriguing lyrical content, and vast range of emotions. The hooks and choruses where catchy and they were laid it all down hard and fast. As they ended their set, the entire crowd cheered for another song. It was cool to see the younger generation Vagenius heads and the older folks who had come to see The Alarm both equally entranced by the band and their music. You could feel how tied together this band was and how well they understood each other musically and that energy had washed itself over the collective audience, as well.

By the time Vagenius had left the stage it was blatantly apparent that they had captured the attention of everybody. This was made obvious by the 20 to 30 people who lined up to buy their CD after the show. Additionally, as they were packing up their equipment, fans were asking them to sign their CD's and take pictures with them. If this wasn't a sign that Vagenius is going somewhere, then I don't know what is. I mean this trio offers the entire package: a desirous young frontwoman, music that is pleasantly innovative, and a sound that makes you want to get up and shake ya' tail feathers. While I have intimated it throughout this review, I'll say it again: this is a band that you will be hearing a lot about in the future, so remember their name. Vagenius, don't be afraid to say it!

- Damian Kallis

"Pure 'Genius"

"And the 'Intsrtument of the Year' for 2004 is...the keytar" Or at least it will be if electro-popsters-of-the-moment Vagenius have anything to say about it. Lusty frontwoman Juliette Commagere caresses the retro keyboard guitar while delivering ultra-danceable beats. Commagere whose band name means "beyond genius," likes to say they draw influences from the Eighties and the future. Its line-up is is rounded out by the very busy Jared Smith, who moves between guitar, bass and synth while pumping bass pedals, and Joachim Cooder who handles electronic drums and programming behind his upright kit. Decide for yourself what exactly Vagenius sounds like when they share the Roxy Theatre bill with equally electro-sexy San Franciscans the Lovemakers on March 6th. has more. - Music Connection

"Lots of Boobies-Keep-A-Breast Art Benefit"

On July 8th dozens of set of breasts were auctioned off at Encinitas, California's Martini Ranch to benefit the Keep A Breast Foundation. Here's what went on...The entertainment line-up was also super impressive:DJ Style and Suns And Daughters started off the evening, followed by the beautiful and talented Tristan Prettyman (whose cast sold for $500) and a band bound for bigger stages in the future Vagenius...The Los Angeles-based band Vagenius, what kind of music do they play? The closest description heard was New Wave Dance Grooves? Ir maybe: "Sorta like Men at Work, but with a girl, and more rocking. Oh, and really good." - Transworld


Indie 1031, KCRW and KXLU play the following tracks.
1. Everyone Comes Here
2. Plain and Simple
3. Being Slow
4 Take it to the Maxx
5. Broken Hearts


Feeling a bit camera shy


Gettin updated at the moment.