Wish You Were There: Venejer at Hot Topic, Dolphin Mall, February 11

The recent trend of bands playing at Hot Topic stores around South Florida inspires mixed feelings. On one hand, those stores are already dark, disorganized, and impenetrable as it is, and the thought of cramming both a band and more kids into its narrow, cheap accessory-stuffed aisles is scary. On the other hand, the store's slogan has long been something like "all about the music," so at least the chain is doing something to actually back that up, beyond selling band T-shirts.

Besides, if you're over 24, your (and my) opinion about Hot Topic completely doesn't matter, demographically, any more. So, if a band wants to play there, why not, right? Maybe they'll sway some kids to come to a real show and buy some merch, which is the only way for sturggling bands to really make a buck right now. (Luckily, the all-agers also seem to buy a ton of merch these days.)

Here are some videos taken at the Dolphin Mall Hot Topic this past Thursday, featuring an acoustic set by local act Venejer. One of the few bands from Miami-Dade proper to focus on a radio-ready, but pure hard rock, sound, the quartet has opened for acts like Sevendust. After a recent few months' period of inactivity, the foursome is gearing up to hit the local scene again. The audio on these clips, from YouTube user gacayana, leaves a lot to be desired, but gives you a clue as to the band's overall stylistic feel.

Here are some more videos, all from the same YouTube user.

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