The Virginmarys & Glassman – The Tunnels – 01/04/11
Tight yet chaotic, bluesy and melodic yet ferocious and powerful, a band of many contradictions are The Virginmarys. Comparisons abound listing everything from Led Zeppelin to the White Stripes with hints of Rose Hill Drive and Wolfmother but all that can definitely be said is that they sound like The Virginmarys with people grasping to find a direct comparison. But firstly before I get too side tracked the opening act of the evening, local lads Glassman.
I have seen these guys once before playing at Moorings and I was very impressed with their stoner style hard rock that had enough of their own character to be quite distinctive. Tonight’s performance wasn’t quite to that first acquaintance though with the vocals being lost in the mix a bit and a fairly nervy interaction with the crowd and not quite as intense a sound. However even still not firing on all cylinders this is a band with bags of potential that garnered a favourable response from the rapidly filling up Tunnels. Given a bit more time and a few more gigs under their belt this is a band that could break out of their local confines and cause an impact on a much larger scale. An enjoyable set all the same though and I am looking forward to catching them again sometime soon.
The Virginmarys are a band on a roll, iTunes best new rock band of 2010, high profile support slots with the likes of Slash and Gun, numerous sold out shows of their own and a spectacular 3 separate live sets at last year’s Hard Rock Hell festival including the manic chalet performance! This was their second time in Aberdeen and it wasn’t exactly well advertised that they were coming up and unless you were already a fan of the band the chances were you wouldn’t have known about this gig. However some last minute word of mouth got around and the numbers on show turned out to be pretty respectable in the end.
I am not going to give a blow by blow account of this gig as I don’t have a copy of the set list and my old crumbling brain would just make mistakes anyway. The thing is though, it isn’t important when dealing with The Virginmarys, each song rolls into the next in a tidal wave of blues tinged hard rock that sweeps you along. This is a band that plays on the emotions and it is the total combined effect of their set that impacts rather than picking out and analysing single songs and aspects of their performance. From the first chord to the final gong (yes, I did say gong) the Virginmarys sweep you along with trance like intensity weaving rock around the hall like musical magicians and getting even the most hardened and cynical doubter to get that foot tapping and head nodding. Communication with the audience is fairly minimal but it suits their style and what is said is heartfelt. I would go as far as say this is one of the best live performance I have seen from any band at the Tunnels and from everyone I spoke to afterwards there was nothing but gushing praise.
The band themselves look like they have stepped straight out the seventies and each member is quite a distinctive character in their own right, this is a band that oozes charisma and style even if it is like the beer soaked bastard child of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. When I am watching the Virginmarys on their headline arena tour in a few years time I will think back fondly on this gig no doubt along with the other folks that attended in recognition that we witnessed something very special.
Words by Norseman and pics by Still Burning.
The Virginmarys Website (includes a link where you can download a free ep)