The Joiners Arms, Southampton

The Virginmary’s are a three piece band from Macclesfield have quite surprised themselves with the speed that their name is spreading through the music world, after successful tours with New Model Army, Skunk Anansie and Slash. Tonight they stop in Southampton as part of their first headline UK tour and despite being a Monday night the place is packed with expectant fans who have come along to see what the fuss is all about.

The 1st of the three support bands ‘Alice Avenue’ arrive on the stage looking a little like a wedding band all dressed in smart suits and ties.There are some bluesy guitar rifts backed by a solid rhythm section, with the band creating a sound that is much older than their tender years, influences seem to have been provided by their Dad’s record collection. The single ‘Let It Go’ shows a maturity and quality song writing worthy of credit.

The Fringe are next up and throw themselves into their performance with spirited confident youthful energy, they have bought along a fair bit of local support with them and the crowd are on their side from the start. They put together a set of self written mod influenced rock including ‘Get in Line’ with a foot tapping bass lines and some clever guitar work. A predictable cover of The Who’s ‘Behind Blue Eyes’ is executed well coupled with their own ‘Wasted Days’. The talent is there and so is the enthusiasm, a gig like this with plenty of audience appreciation can only boast their confidence further.

Til Dusk follow and showed the experience and professionalism that the first two bands were missing. They performed a 25 minute set and it was if I am honest I found their performance lacking, with no real energy, it seem that they were going through the motions. Their saving grace was the last number ‘Lies They sell’ with a long 80’s style keyboard introduction culminating with some great guitar effects.

At last it was time for the main attraction!! Drummer Danny’s kit is the centre of the stage with nothing obscuring anyone’s view of his extraordinary style, he is possibly one of the most animated drummers on the rock music scene today. Danny is in a world of his when he is onstage, hitting the skins with the greatest of force in an elegant style that possibly only the great Keith Moon could emulate, despite seemingly not aware of his surroundings he is fully aware of every note his band mates play giving a performance of huge proportions.

The Virginmary’s perform material from their impressive 2010 mini album ‘Cast The First Stone’ including ‘Nothing To Lose’, ‘Portrait of Red’ and the stunning ‘Out of Mind’. Lead singer Ally seemed to be humbled by the spirited reaction from the audience throughout the whole of the set and when the band tried to leave the stage they were positively overwhelmed by the cheers and shouts for more. Danny stepped up to a huge gong and hit it several times before the band launched into a storming version ‘Bang Bang Bang’ before bring the set to a close with ‘Off To Another Land’.

Tonight was one of those nights that those who were in attendance will remember for years to come, The Virginmary’s have just started their rise, watch them closely, there is something very special generated by this trio.

Nothin To Lose
You’ve Got You’re Money
Into The Night
Just A Ride
In The City
My Little Girl
Looking For Love
Keep Me On The Run
Out Of Mind
Lost Weekend
1000 Times
Taking The Blame
Portrait Of Red
Ends Don’t Meet

Bang Bang Bang
Off To Another Land

The Virginmarys’s

Til Dusk

The Fringe

Words and Pictures by;
Dave Chinery(Chinners)

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