Ripping through the early morning heat on the final day of Austin City Limits 2022, local punk band Pleasure Venom kicked off the Barton Springs stage with a bang, or more appropriately, a shriek. As I ran to the stage after rolling out of bed only 30 minutes before their 11:45 AM set time, the distinctive wail of PV’s music jerked me out of my stupor.
The fiery four-piece is led by Audrey Campbell, whose scream is unique in its shrill, high-pitched tone. Meeting in the middle between dance music and punk is the niche that the group has carved out. Campbell was donning an all-black look in true punk fashion, but her big hair screamed Texas. In her best Dolly impersonation, she had it teased to the max, which solidified their local energy.
Despite the sweltering heat, Campbell worked the stage and got the crowd moving. With Chase Dungan on guitar, the severe breakdowns during “We Get What You Deserve” had the crowd, including the person in front of me with a neon pink mohawk, headbanging in unison. Running through their discography in the limited time they had, the group was able to play all of their singles from the incoming record, as well as the majority of their self-titled EP released in 2018.
Every song was packed with energy. Campbell didn’t falter once, keeping her presence large throughout the entire set. I honestly couldn’t look away because I was so impressed every time she let out a scream.
With an album on the way in December, the band used their first year at ACL to showcase their established work and try out some new material. Their most recent single, “Severed Ties,” shows off a more polished version of PV and hints at the new era for the locals. The group is gearing up for their show with Die Spitz and L7 at Levitation at the end of the month and is planning on releasing another single before that performance, which Campbell revealed during the set.
PV is set to shake up the scene with its incredible poise, presence, and unique voice in the punk community.