Vengaboys are Back in Town!
Crawling out from underneath the crop top haven and disco dancing shadows of the 1990’s, there can have been few occasions more surreal than when the Vengabus made a dazzling return to Birmingham earlier this month. Whilst other modes of transport might be more frequent and practical to the average commuter, this one off night at Risa enthralled some of the most adoring, sentimental fans of the late 90’s cheesy pop era.
Left to right: Kim, Robin, Donny and Denise.
Wondering what on earth I am talking about? Quite frankly, if you don’t remember who the Vengaboys are then you probably worked too hard at primary school, and you probably think that Venga Airways is a lesser known budget airline.
The Amsterdam-based dance group’s two singles ‘Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom!!‘ and ‘We’re Going to Ibiza’, saw them hit the heights with UK number ones a decade and a half ago. But the vibrant original quartet of Kim Sasabone, Denise Post-Van Rijswijk, Robin Pors, and Donny Latupeirissa showed that they still like to party as they enthusiastically churned out their illustrious hits on stage.
The finesse and enthusiasm of their performance was matched entirely by the aura of their glitter-laden costumes, making it the sort of show that few other than the Vengaboys could pull of, and one of few occasions where I would allow myself to dance like a 90’s disco maniac, without a glimmer of shame.
Looking back through the bands videography over the years, a series of strange mental images lingers in my head. From scenes of grannies with green hair dancing along to ‘Up and Down‘, to the collection of risqué nipple tassels used in their latest release, the ‘2 Brazil‘ World Cup party anthem.
To their most adoring fans however, the band will be remembered as one of the last bastions of the quirky Eurodance heyday which thrilled and seduced before the instrumental conventions of rap music became a more followed route to fame in so many of the European charts.
The 2014 release ‘My Love‘ by Route 94 with vocals by Jess Glynne is the first song to get popular airtime on mainstream radio that I have heard for several years to be widely talked of as bearing influences from Eurodance.
Kim struts her stuff during the Top of the Pops Venga heyday.
Time will tell if this proves a one off, or a more prominent return. Either way, it is great to see that the band themselves are back with a vengeance. In reality, much more has changed over the last fifteen years than initially meets the eye. Sasabone, the lead vocalist and ever-present within the group, touched a chord close to everyone’s hearts when she announced between songs that she missed Top of the Pops.
For that short set at least, we had the privilege of travelling back in time to see a band who love the opportunity to perform and whose album I vividly remember buying the cassette tape of (those things that people now use as covers for iPhones) as a child from Woolworths. I was at an age where my singing of ‘Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom!!‘ and ‘Sex on the Beach‘ in public, horrified my parents and enticed them to keep me indoors until I was old enough to understand the explicit references made in their seductive lyrics.
Somewhere along the way most of us, including myself, have lost our childhood innocence, but the 25 million record-selling Vengaboys have retained their emphatic charm and – to fans delight – releasing new material is on the agenda. Let the unstoppable ‘Vengapop’ party continue to roll on.