Somehow I totally missed out on the Virginmarys, I’d heard of them and indeed was told many times to go and see them live but our paths never crossed until tonight where at the Sugarmill Stoke they play the first of two gigs in over a year to get back out with their fans; hopefully before they release some new material.
Hailing from Macclesfield they formed back in 2009 and forged out a path with their no frills hard hitting punk tinged Rock and Roll that cumulated in them being crowned ‘Best Breakthrough Band’ in 2013 and the release of their debut album ‘King Of Conflict” with extensive tours in 2014.
Tonight the packed out crowd have being suitably warmed up with support slots from Hello Operator and Monarks. Ally, Danny and Matt take to the stage to thunderous applause and for a band that hadn’t played for so long you might have expected some first night nerves but as they burst into ‘Running For My Life’ none were evident, even during ‘Halo In Their Silhouette’ Ally’s guitar issues didn’t faze him as they played it out.
Being new to the band’s music I’m instantly drawn to the rawness of it: ‘Take The Blame’ with its bursts of riffy guitar and Ally’s roughness in his vocals, the energy of ‘Just A Ride’ which is matched totally by the energy being exerted by the crowd who sing along to all the tracks.
Such is the pulling power of the Macc-based 3 piece that fans have come from America for the gig and in one of the few times Ally interacts with the crowd he thanks them and the rest of the fans for sticking by the band.
When it comes to energy though no one on stage is as frantic as drummer Danny Dolan who batters his kit into submission and at time is standing up hammering the cymbals and toms.
In a time when a lot of bands are looking for the perfect sound and almost seem to be trying too hard it’s great to see a band that just plays with their hearts and lets the music flow and I think that’s why they initially pulled the crowds who still stay with them today.
The whole night is being videoed for 2 live tracks to be release in the coming month which will the keep the fans happy for now but they do need get some more stuff out there. Final track of the night is the high energy ‘Dead Man’s Shoes’ which starts off with another raw riff and packs the same energy as the rest of the night. I have to admit I am a convert and look forward to seeing them again, and wish I had seen them when I was told about them.
Review and photos by Simon Dunkerley
Running For My Life (2013), Halo In Her Silhoiuette, Just A Ride (2011), Free To Do Whatever They Say, You’ve Got Your Money (2013), For You Me Love, Portrait Of Red (2010), Motherless Land, Kill The Messenger, Taking The Blame (2013), Dressed To Kill (2013), Lost Weekend (2013), Moths To A Flame, Into Dust, Bang Bang Bang (2010) Encores: Push The Pedal, Dead man’s Shoes (2013)
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In this two hour special David Randall plays a selection of the GRTR! reviewer choices for ‘Best of 2019′ and announces the results of the popular poll. First broadcast Sunday 22 December 2019.
Featured Albums w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 AUTUMN’S CHILD Autumn’s Child (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 THE RAGGED SAINTS Sonic Playground Revisited (AOR Heaven)
14:00-16:00 AMBERLY CHALBERG Hi-Line (indie)
Power Plays w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)
THUNDERSTICK Go Sleep With The Enemy (Roulette Records)
BUFFALO SUMMER Everybody’s Out For No.1 (Silver Lining Music)
ANCHOR LANE Dead Run (R7 Records)
MOLLY KARLOFF She Said (indie)
H.E.A.T. Come Clean (Frontiers)
THE KENDALL COLLECTION Staring Back At Me (indie)
VOODOO RAMBLE Midnight Train (indie)
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