We played loads of gigs in March with some of the other Unglamorous Music bands and had loads of fun. Our intention was to do less in May and June because there’s a compilation album to release and we want to start recording our own album. But people keep offering us gigs and it’s hard to say no. But are we punk or are we pop? It’s hard to say and we think we’re maybe both …
On Friday 30th June, we’re back at The Big Difference, Leicester which is a super-cool venue to play at. It’s where French/German TV channel ARTE came to film the unglam bands playing recently. Arte Film
On Sunday 20th August, The Verinos have been added to the Leicester Punk Weekender closing party bill, along with Unglamorous bands Glitch Magnet and The Wonky Portraits. There’s some vintage punk bands on and we’re on stage 2 just before Buzzcocks hit stage 1 at the end of the night. We’re grateful to Matt from Firebug Bar who has arranged this second stage which balances out the male-dominated original punk sets with the cool new mainly women bands. It’s refreshing, modern and doesn’t detract from what Chelsea, UK Subs, Buzzcocks etc provide – it just acknowledges that women also love punk and can be part of it! We’re honoured to be asked – especially because we’re a very poppy punk band!
The following week, on Saturday 26th August, The Verinos take a road trip to Sheffield to play at Sidney and Matilda for the Sheffield Pop Weekender. This is a great line-up and again, we’re honoured to be asked … especially as we’re a punky pop band! Tickets here This is what they say: “Don’t go to those hideous massive festivals with sponsors’ logos everywhere and leery lads setting fire to tents!” Sheffield, we’ll see you soon!
Festival season is starting! The Verinos’ second ever gig was an audition to play at a festival called Glastonbudget. We played there last year in a massive marquee to about 30 people.
We made a T-shirt to show how quickly it all happened.
But this year we’re playing at a film festival! The Verinos have been asked to play at Phoenix Arts Leicester as part of the REAL Documentary Festival. The festival has sessions for documentary film makers and industry people as well as showing films to the general public. There’s a big selection of award-winning films, works-in-progress, exhibitions and a few premieres.
Where do The Verinos fit in? We’re playing live on the evening of Thursday 20th April after the film ‘I Am A Cliché‘ is screened. It’s the story of Poly Styrene (real name Marianne Elliot-Said) who grew up in Brixton and formed the band X-Ray Spex after seeing Sex Pistols play on her 19th birthday. Although the boy band punks are usually cited as the important ones, Poly Styrene’s original style, lyrics and presence as a bi-racial young woman fronting a punk band are massively important.
Tickets for the film, a Q&A discussion with director Paul Sng and The Verinos gig in the new bar area of the Phoenix are just £5, but be sure to book early because it’s going to be popular!
If you want to see The Verinos live, you’re going to have to visit Leicester in the Midlands, UK. And in March 2023, there’s three chances to catch the band.
On Saturday 4th March, The Verinos play the afternoon slot at Leicester Indiepop Alldayer – going onstage at 3.30pm.
Then just four days later, we play again at Firebug Bar as headliners of the Unglamorous gig for International Women’s Day. Since the Verinos formed, a whole scene of other all-women bands of all ages has grown in Leicester. We estimate that a total of 11 bands will be performing, including complete beginner bands playing one song after starting just weeks ago – bands like BOILERS, Pretty Dirty Rats, Peri Peri Women, Ruby River and Funky Feminists.
Then we have bands that have been playing for up to a year – including Velvet Crisis, The Wonky Portraits, Dada Women, Virginia’s Wolves, Glitch Magnet and Venus Attax. We also like to promote Caroline McLavy – a solo songwriter and performer who has been instrumental in the success of all this as one of the directors of Stayfree Music – a local rehearsal space and instrument hire facility.
The gig on the 8th is also a launch party for a forthcoming compilation album on which The Verinos have a track. The Kickstarter appeal will be .. um … kickstarted, and if you’re in Firebug at 5pm, you might even get to hear some of the tracks which will be on the vinyl LP and CD release. We reckon there must be about 50 women playing in the different bands on 8th March and it’s going to be a truly memorable night!
The last gig in March (that we know of so far) for The Verinos is on Sunday 26th – it’s an early show 6pm – 9.30pm. The Verinos are headlining at The Big Difference venue on High Street, with other Unglamorous bands supporting. This is always a really cool gig with a wild audience so we’re looking forward to that!
The media seem to be getting interested in what The Verinos and the other bands Ruth (Vim Verino) has helped to create.
First there was a story in Positive News and then Channel Five News got in touch. There was a bit of confusion about who was in The Verinos when loads of the other band members got on stage – because there are so many all-women bands, but some clips from The Verinos YouTube video made it onto national news!
Last year The Verinos passed an audition to play at Glastonbudget Music Festival in Leicestershire. It’s mainly a tribute band festival, with some of the best UK tribute acts playing. But there’s also a stage for little local bands playing original music and today The Verinos are going to be playing there!
It is such an important thing for us; rock history has far fewer women involved and there are all sorts of stereotypes about what female artists should be like. The Verinos crash those expectations – we’re older, rawer and more fun than a lot of other bands and we’re all women. We represent the punk idea that anyone can have a go and it’s a lot of fun. You should try it!
The Verinos play the Loco Stage at Glastonbudget Festival at 9.15pm today 2nd June 2022. We have some of these T-shirts – ask us if we have any free ones left!
We formed a band, including three women who’d never done anything like that before, and made an impact very quickly. Many of our ideas are way off what most people do, so let’s try and find out why it worked. If you’re someone who would like to have a band, here’s an alternative way of doing things and thinking about it, particularly if you’re a woman or someone who wouldn’t be expected to get up on stage.
“I can’t find anyone else”
Tell everyone about the idea. “I’m looking for someone who wants to learn bass” can be more interesting than just looking for a bass player.
“We never seem to get started”
Only have one talking meeting with your new band mates at the start. Don’t waste six months in the pub discussing the band name or chatting fantasies, just get on with it.
“They’re not as committed as me”
Agree how much time you want to devote to the band – a two hour rehearsal on a set day every week is ideal. If it’s less than once a fortnight, or it depends on people’s changing shifts or commitments, it’s much harder. But those who have more time can think about song ideas and work on their own.
“I don’t have a guitar”
There are always musicians who have a lot of equipment. If you meet any of these, don’t ask them to be in your band. Ask them whether they’d lend their 5th best guitar to a beginner who will take good care of it.
“I can’t afford £600 for a bass guitar”
If you can’t borrow anything, see if you can buy anything second-hand. Often there’s guitars and basses for £30-50. They’re not the best, but that doesn’t matter at the start. Make sure that you see someone playing it through an amplifier though, to know that the electrics work. Buy a good guitar lead if you can afford one.
“We don’t have a drummer or a drum kit”
If someone will agree to have a go, you can hire a rehearsal room with a complete drum kit including cymbals and pedals. All you need are drumsticks (about £4). Alternatively, hit carboard boxes to start with.
“We don’t have anywhere to play”
You can play quietly in people’s houses, or find a community centre or someone’s warehouse etc if you have all the gear. But focus and progress tends to be better when you’re paying by the hour in a proper rehearsal room. There should be a few within reach of most people if you search online. Many are run by enthusiasts, who should be delighted to help a bunch of beginners so try them out. If not, there’s a chain of unstaffed rehearsal rooms called Pirate Studios, where you book online and get a keycode to get in. The disadvantage is that help is on the phone, not in person. Pirate charges £12 per hour for a room on Saturday morning with the full drum kit; we found that other local studios, like Stayfree in Leicester have a similar size room for £9.50, plus they have someone to help you, snack and drinks machines and a mini shop for musical essentials.
“We don’t know what to do to get started”
Don’t bother trying to learn songs by famous bands. You’ll only get frustrated because it takes so long to get every player in the band sounding like the original. Start really simple with what the least experienced player in the band can do. Always count what you’re doing and agree how long each bit goes on for – 8 beats in a riff maybe and then repeat that 4 times and then a drum roll. That could be just playing a single chord or bass note like this EEEEEEEE, EEEEEEEE, EEEEEEEE, EEEEEEEE <drumroll>. By starting really simply, you can focus on the band interaction to play together, as a group, with communication, rather than the typical 3-4 musicians all playing marvellous independent things at the same time.
“We don’t know how to progress”
Decide whether you are just playing for fun in the rehearsal room. This is a totally fine kind of thing to do. But if you want to play any gigs, then you need to think of your audience and why they might like watching your band. Secretly many people dread having to go out to see their friend’s band, because it’s not a lot of fun, and it’s not really fair to expect people you know to subsidise your hobby out of loyalty. Inexperienced, earnest musicians are often so focussed on ‘getting their bit right’ that it’s a real chore to watch the ‘musicians all playing marvellous independent things at the same time’ kind of thing, when you’re not a regular gig-goer.
“We’re not ready to play a gig yet”
You should play a short gig or support slot as soon as you can. The fact that you’re brand new endears you to audiences and honestly, they would rather see a half-arsed band having a go, making mistakes, being humorous and engaging with everyone than a note-perfect replication of Bring Me The Horizon or some other men’s study band. And that is the theory that has worked well for The Verinos.
Thanks for reading. We’re thinking of starting some YouTube content about getting started in a band – at a very basic level – learning your instrument by playing in a band from scratch! Comment below if you’d be interested to see this!
The first song of our set is the song ‘No Time to Form a Band‘ which is a 1-chord song written by Vim and Vixen before all the members of the band had been found. The idea was that by having just one chord, it would make the song playable by anyone new to playing guitar or bass.
“What’s the bassline? shouts VeeDee? “It’s E E E E E E E E E E E …”
Here’s a picture of Vim and Vixen on 24th May 2021 – the day we wrote ‘No Time to Form a Band”. In order to be properly creative, we booked a serious artists’ work room in the LCB Depot in Leicester. And, as you can see, we had a lot of fun. It was a room where passers-by could see that a couple of middle-aged women were pratting about planning to form a band.
Here’s the words; it’s a list of excuses why women might not have time to form a band. But of course, at the end of the song, the words change to ‘there’s always time to form a band.’
Got to wash the dishes; Got to feed the cat Got to learn to Zumba; Got to find a hat
So many things to do … we’ll never have time to form a band So many things to do … we’ll never have time to form a band
Got to pick a number; Got to go to Greece Got to get on Tik Tok; Got to buy the cheese
So many things to do … we’ll never have time to form a band So many things to do … we’ll never have time to form a band
Got to put the bin out; Got to write some code Got to book the tickets; Got to hit the road
So many things to do, but there’s always time to form a band So many things to do, but there’s always time to form a band
If you want to hear what the song sounds like, you’ll have to wait until we record it, or, alternatively, come to Duffys Bar in Leicester on Thursday December 9th. Why? Because we’ve just had another gig confirmed – this time supporting act for The DeRellas. We’re really looking forward to it!
The Verinos played our second gig at The Soundhouse Leicester last month as an audition for the next Glastonbudget Festival in June 2022. The audience really loved it and we’ve now been confirmed for our first festival.
The Soundhouse is a cool music pub painted blue that hosts open mic nights, local bands and touring acts from the UK and overseas. Promoter Muz had been so positive about the idea of The Verinos, that we felt we’d be welcomed. We know we’re not as technically skilled as some of the usual bands that play there; our instruments are cheap or borrowed and we haven’t had much live experience.
But what we do have is confidence and energy!
Here we are hanging about before the gig. The other bands that were playing were really friendly and let us use their drum kit. They were interested to hear about what we’re trying to do, and very encouraging – old-fashioned sexist attitudes really do seem to be changing in the world of music!
We had a little soundcheck, which sounded good and there were fabulous stage lights and then it was time to play. The small stage meant that the fun and energy of the band came across even better – several of our songs involve band members shouting out their thoughts or joining in with the singers!
After we finished, there were dozens of great comments from people we don’t even know. Most frequent comment was “Brilliant songs!” followed by “Amazing energy”. So we think it was a great success, and want to go on to do more … especially festivals next summer! And today, apparently we’re featured on the BBC News page. Amazing! Please follow/subscribe to the blog to get news about The Verinos.
Yesterday The Verinos heard that we have been picked to play at Glastonbudget Festival in June 2022. Also BBC East Midlands broadcast a film about the band in their news reports throughout the day, so we were buzzing with people congratulating us and wanting to find out more.
You can see the evening BBC news slot here – the piece about The Verinos is after 22 minutes.
Although most of the bands at the festival are tribute acts, there’s a small stage for local bands and that’s where we’ll be, but hopefully we’ll be well known enough by then to get a good crowd!
The Verinos are now looking for more gigs in the local area; the unglamorous music project is also working with more women to create more all-female bands to play for fun and to record and play live. Get in touch if you’re interested via the comments or by emailing unglamorous firstname.lastname@example.org.