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The Virginmarys from Macclesfield, are getting quite a reputation for themselves, with a string of commendable reviews from some of the top music publications, as well as their recently acquired record deal and their first album ‘King of conflict’ is set for release in February 2013, their star is well and truly in ascension. 'Dead Man's Shoes' is the first single taken from the album.
At 7.45pm prompt, and a crowd of 40 or 50 people are treated to the smell of stale beer and support band, Book Thieves. With a nod to Radiohead and a batch of decent songs, what they lack in visuals they make up for in sound. A good guitarist, who knows his way around a pedal board, and a left handed drummer, who, although not conventional, does the job well, with some nice grooves. Unfortunately their set was cut very short by a faulty bass rig, but the crowd were very forgiving and appreciated their efforts. A local band to look out for, when lady luck is a little kinder to them.

The Virginmarys take the stage by the scruff of the neck at 9pm and lead it kicking and screaming into their first number, ‘Running for my life’. The band look the part, immersed in sweat and energy from the very first number, proving it’s not the clothes draped over your frame that make you look good, but the passion and heart that beats within. Zepplinesque, with a sprinkle of modern day punk via AC/DC, this visually exciting trio are a powerhouse of sound, from their left handed drummer (you wait all year for a left handed drummer and then two come along at once) to the two, more than competent guitars. Vocals are suitably raucous and strong, from lead singing, guitar slinging Ally Dickaty, looking very much the man in black with matching Gibson Les Paul. Drummer, Danny Dolan, is very old school in style, reminding me of the old jazz drummers but with the power of Bonham and a touch of Keith Moon thrown in for the visual aesthetics. It’s not until several songs in do we get some respite from the constant pounding of the largest bass drum I’ve ever seen! ‘Looking for love’ with its 3/4  (waltz time) feel, may slow down the pace a little, but if you’re looking for divine intervention to save you from this holy trinity, then look elsewhere, because there is little forgiveness for us unrepentant sinners. Uptempo, urban hymns are the gospel of the day, delivered with riffs stolen from the big red fellow himself. Neat lines throughout from, bass player and second vocalist, Matt Rose, beefed up with the odd four stringed chords, strangled from his Fender Jazz bass. And then it’s back to business, trying to pin their willing victims to the back wall!


New single ‘Dead man’s shoes’ stirs the crowd, that has, by now, doubled in size, further into the realms of heavenly rock bliss, and a good indication of the quality of the songs, is that it doesn’t stand out as the strongest, but sets the bar high, as one of many. Delicate staccato passages, leading into heavy riffs and descending semi tone chord changes add to a colourful palette that elevates their music to a much higher level. Making The Virginmarys such an interesting and exciting band to look at, and more importantly, listen to.

After the two encores and a few short minutes, the band emerge, sweatier than Father Jack’s collar and mingle with the congregation, chatting and signing away their souls to the god of stardom.  All in all an amazing nights entertainment from a band, who I would imagine, will have lots of followers worshipping at their alter once their debut album is released. And, religious puns aside, I advise you to catch them now, while you still can. I swear on the bible you won’t be disappointed (oops!)........Amen to that. 

Set list:

Running for my life
Thousand times
Just a ride
My little girl
Out of mind
Taking the blame
Looking for love
Dead man’s shoes
Portrait of red
Lost weekend
Keep me on the run
You’ve got your money
Dressed to kill
Off to another land
Ends don’t mend

Review by Les Glover / photos by Melanie Smith

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