+ THE VIRGINMARYS
BRISTOL FLEECE & FIRKIN
After seeing Terrorvision rocking like bastards at Hard Rock Hell last winter, there's no way I was going to miss them doing a smaller gig, especially as the promise of new material means that this isn't just a one off tour. Bristol's Fleece & Firkin has been holding gigs for donkey's years, and although it only holds a few hundred people it's a great venue that offers something inbetween a pub gig and the local O2 Academy. It can get pretty sweaty in there on a busy night, but at least the raised stage means that you can at least see the band, and the sound quality is always great. Apparently there are new owners who have pledged to reduce the number of tribute acts that play and book more original bands, which can only be a good thing.
There's plenty of people in, although some of the stupider ones camp in the pub next door rather than see The Virginmarys. These people should be made to kick themselves until their bottoms fall off, as The Virginmarys are without a doubt one of the most exciting new bands I have seen for a long time. With the drum kit pushed right to the front of the stage, the biggest impact is made by drummer Danny Dolan, who looks and acts like Animal from The Muppets, intent on nothing more than beating the living shit out of his kit. Matt Rose's bass thumps through everybody's spines, whilst vocalist/guitarist Ally Dickaty hides in the dark corner of the stage and pulls off some cool licks.
Musically, The Virginmarys are a power trio with a capital ‘ P', bringing to mind the likes of Wolfmother, The Answer, QOTSA and early White Stripes. It's decidedly bluesy, incredibly heavy and as exciting as putting a jellyfish down your trousers. It's a short set, but one that puts a goofy smile on many punter's faces. Without a doubt The Virginmarys are one to watch, and a must see if they play anywhere near you.
Whilst latecomers are pummelled for missing the support, everyone gets ready for the party on ten legs that is Terrorvision. Since officially calling it a day in 2005, they've been tempted out a few times, but this time it's serious. From “ Do You Wanna Go Faster ” through to closer “ Perseverance ” , it's evident that singer Tony Wright still really enjoys whet he does. He bounces around like a crazed Labrador at feeding time, so infectious that plenty of people in the audience join in. New drummer Cameron Greenwood, a slip of a lad with a Mohican, fills longtime drummer Shutty's legendary shoes with aplomb, banging away like a madman. The band's front line couldn't be more different. In the middle you have Tony Wright, possibly the best redcoat Butlins never had, flanked by Leigh Marklew looking like a refugee from a grunge band and bassist Mark Yates, who seems to be doing his best to resemble an ice cool hitman out of a Shane Ritchie film. Never have a band looked less like they belong together, but they sure do sound like they belong together. We get all the hits, of course, like “ Alice, What's The Matter ” , “ Pretend Best Friend ” , “ Oblivion ” , “ Josephine ” and the obligatory “ Tequila ” , but the band also throw in a couple of new tracks. Both “ Babylon ” and “ Neighbourhood ” are pacy, fun tracks that certainly bode well for the forthcoming album.
When the party's finally over, a packed house is disgorged onto the streets, and there can't be anyone who hasn't had a good time. Terrorvision embody the spirit of good time rock music, with a sound that's theirs and no one else's and an energy that raises the roof wherever they play, and long may they continue.
Review and photos by Alan Holloway
(c) 2010 RockUnited.Com
8 August 2010