The Virginmarys @ The Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton – Wednesday 20th November 2013

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Review by Paul Davis

If you were hoping to see one of the recent ‘Classic Rock Award’ winners live, then tonight in the Midlands you were spoilt for choice, with The Virginmarys here in Wolverhampton while The Temperance Movement performed over in Birmingham.

tour2013soldThe Virginmarys came to the Slade Rooms at the tail-end of a triumphant year that has seen the release of their critically acclaimed album King Of Conflict, successful tours on both sides of the Atlantic, culminating in that award for ‘Breakthrough’ act.

It’s not the biggest crowd the Slade Rooms has seen this year, but that takes nothing away from the excitement for those fans gathered at the front. House of Pain’s ‘Jump Around’ pushes those levels of excitement further before the Macclesfield trio arrive on stage and open with the excellent ‘Portrait of Red’.

Immediately to the fore are the talents of Danny Dolan, showing that he’s one of the most entertaining drummers around with another eye catching display. Not content to be in the background, his unrelenting style matches the intensity of Ally Dickaty’s lyrics.

The set of course leans heavily on the debut album and the longtime fans sing along with every word, and those who are perhaps seeing the band for the first time stand and admire. Crowd favourites are the catchy ‘Just a Ride’ and ‘Out Of Mind’, the band’s influences ranging from Zeppelin and The Who through to grunge era favourites like Nirvana.

Earlier in the set the band had found time to try some new material, giving their fans a glimpse into the exciting future of The Virginmarys, while for the encore it’s an old fan favourite ‘Bang Bang Bang’ that brings the evening to a stunning close.