Live Review – The Virginmarys @ Actress & Bishop

Big thank you to ”Indie Midlands” and Ian Paget for this great review of the Virgin Marys gig this month…

Live Review – The Virginmarys @ Actress & Bishop
TOPICS:Actress & BishopGigsReviews

The Virginmarys

The Virginmarys

Actress & Bishop

Review by Ian Paget

It may be Friday the 13th, but there’s no reason for Macclesfield alt-rock trio The Virginmarys to feel unlucky tonight with the
welcome they receive at the Actress & Bishop from their loyal fans. The crowd’s a diverse mix of punks, metallers and indie kids crossing the age and gender divide, and the band are just as versatile in their sound with an epic twenty-song set that straddles the heavier aspects of alternative music in a way that Therapy? and 3 Colours Red nailed down in the 90’s.

Songs like opener ‘Portrait Of Red’ and ‘Dead Man’s Shoes’ have an obvious bluesy classic rock influence on them, singer/guitarist Ally’s vocals swinging from gruff shouting to a clean melodic style with ease, whilst ‘Free To Do Whatever They Say’ is a poppy punk track that brings to mind China Drum with new bassist Ross providing harmonies and backing vocals to great effect. The set’s split pretty evenly between their two albums to date along with a handful of newer tracks that evolve the band’s sound a little including the rock ‘n’ roll attitude of ‘Sweet Loretta’. There’s even hints of Rage Against The Machine in the calculated riffing of ‘Running For My Life’ and Ally’s vocals on ‘Into Dust’ take on a coarse hardcore punk style reminiscent of bands like The Bronx. Drummer Danny is especially impressive on these faster tracks, beating his snare with enough power that it’s a wonder that it remains intact.

Despite all the different cues, the set remains cohesive and even when ‘Sitting Ducks’ offers a disco-inspired stomp-along it doesn’t sound like a radical departure from the rest of the set. A particularly raucous ‘Just A Ride’ is a highlight towards the end of the evening before ‘Ends Don’t Mend’ closes out with a jazzy outro as Ross ends up playing bass on his knees after his strap breaks midway through the song. “That looked pretty entertaining from my side of the stage!” laughs Ally, and the encore of new track ‘Northern Sun’ and old favourite ‘Bang Bang Bang’ gives the audience one last chance to dance, which they take gladly. There’s enough for everyone’s tastes here tonight and as live performers The Virginmarys have blossomed into a fearsome act who put on a brilliant show.

The Virginmarys

Wolverhampton indie-rock group The Regulars play a more traditional rock ‘n’ roll influenced by the indie storytelling of early Arctic Monkeys and The Libertines. The poppier tracks such as ‘Role Reversal’ are the gems of the set, recalling 00’s bands like The Rifles and The Holloways with some excellent guitar work and chirpy harmonies. Importantly, the band seem to be having a lot of fun playing and guitarist Jack shares a mic with frontman Andy during ‘It’s Not Quite The Same’. Final song ‘Maybe You Mean It’ sees the band’s drummer finishing the track standing up and there’s definitely a buzzing atmosphere brewing as the set comes to a close.

The Regulars

Leicester’s Siobhan Mazzei and her band open up proceedings with an atmospheric set that combines a bleak folky sound with Pearl Jam-styled grunge to provide something that comes across as interestingly unique. Offsetting the darkness of the songs, Siobhan jokes about her “cruel” parents giving her a name no one can spell or pronounce (“at least it’s not Engelbert Humperdinck – could be worse, right?”) and proudly points out that ‘Never There’ contains not one but two guitar solos. There’s some clever riffs in ‘Recycled’ (apparently named as such because it’s a composite of previously discarded songs), and ‘Wispy And Blue’ is introduced with accompanying dance moves demonstrated by Siobhan’s bassist. The band sound really good together and the set is short but enjoyable.


Siobhan Mazzei