||THE VIRGINMARYS AND REIGNING DAYS GET PHOTO OPPORTUNITY TO CLAIM TOP BILLING
Thursday 13th October 216
Ade Riches: Photos by Eric Duvet
The Roundhouse on Thursday 13th October and it's supposed to be a review of highly acclaimed band Feeder and their supports, however as nobody was allowed to photograph Feeder, we decided they didn't deserve to be in this review so we gave Reigning Days and The Virginmarys headline billing and both bands delivered quality and sheer energy to the night's proceedings.
As you can imagine, as is always the case with a venue of this size when a support act going on at 7.00pm, they have the unenviable task of warming up the few hardy gig goers who arrive early to check out the support bands. They needn't have worried as the venue filled up quickly when it became clear that Reigning Days had an infectious sound all of their own that was very well received by the ever increasing crowd.
Reigning Days are a Devonshire trio, a band with considerable musical dexterity, including a powerful rhythm section in which the bassist and drummer create a wall of sound that adds a solid layer underneath the tight vocal harmonies. This was added to by imaginative effect laden effects that emanate from Dan Manson's MA guitar which gives texture and depth to the overall sound.
Their first song, 'Friendly Fire', kicked things into gear with a gritty distorted vocal line not too dissimilar to '...Teen Spirit' where a simple scratchy refrain on the guitar gives way to an onslaught of heaviness in the style of Muse or Royal Blood.
'Self-Destruct' follows with a thudding bass and drum pattern from which the vocals emerge. This clearly grabs the audience's attention as the song builds with a huge guitar riff and captivating chorus that pulls you in and delivers a high-powered rock performance.
'Empire' is the next song with massive drums, guitars and great vocals. This tune has a great singalong chorus that has the audience moving in appreciative mood towards the stage, clearly enjoying what the band have brought to the venue.
Dan, the lead singer, makes sure he announces they have a big show on 9th November at the Big Blue last where they will headline.
'Gravity', the next number opens with an AC/DC like riff, an interesting contrast to the chord structures of previous songs, morphing into a minor key making creative use of vocal harmonies enveloped in layers of reverb and echo. This draws you in and is punctuated by staccato like passages on the guitar, emphasised further by the full on impressive drumming of Joe Sansome and bassist Jonny Finnis. It is clear that they have toured extensively to react intuitively to each other's improvisations on stage and it's great to watch.
'Do You Feel' follows, in which Dan encourages the audience to get out their smart phone lighters, and asks the audience to make some noise for themselves to which he gets back a an appreciative roar from the audience. It is a ballad like song with some interesting bass passages from Joe and in places Dan's vocals are reminiscent of Robert Smith.
Final song 'Renegade' is their stand out track of tonight's performance. It is well constructed and has immense power, with a driving bass pattern and an outro on drums from Sansome who goes hell for leather on his kit as if trying to ring out every last ounce of energy of his performance.
Their set seems to be over far too quickly as they clearly have many great songs in their repertoire left to play. Expect to be hearing a lot more from them in the months to come.
During the interlude there was a big Feeder advert projected onto the stage screen offering an exclusive £5 offer in which their audience could download a presale of their album. A good idea, if not very rock'n'roll. It had people reaching for their mobile phones and must be a sign of the times I guess. Good job nobody tried to take any photos though.
The Virgin Mary's encapsulate all that is good about UK rock music. They clearly work incredibly hard together as a band writing intelligent music that reflects the issues of the times we are living in and they are constantly touring, doing their utmost to reach out and connect with their fans.
They exploded onto the stage to the thunderous sound of Danny Dolan on drums and opening song, 'I Wanna Take You Home', was reminiscent of The Stooges at their very best, full of emotional intensity with Ally cranking out a blazing rock riff. This is accompanied by an electrifying vocal delivery in which a spat out stream of words punctuated by a pounding beat appear to express the menace of a person full of demands that can't be satisfied.
By the second song the crowd are already hooked. Ally, full of punk attitude, bangs out another blazing rock riff as 'Halo In Her Silhouette' ups the pace and is more heads down rock'n'roll. It's a great arrangement with stunning interplay between drums and vocals revering the beauty in those who don't bend to conformity.
Dead Man's Shoes from the band’s debut follows and by this time there is a marked change in the size of the audience who are clearly warming even more to the performance. This song has a pounding beat soundly distinctly 'Detroit Rock City' like and it expresses self-delusion with the repetitive guitar and drum patterns seeming to emphasise a cyclical pattern that can't be escaped from.
'Free To Do Whatever They Say' has a driving beat in which Ally expresses his frustrations at people at the top making decisions that undermine other's freedom and 'Running For My Life' is simply the standout track of the evening. This is from their debut album, 'King Of Conflict' and it captures the band's sound brilliantly, making great use of a powerful bluesy riff and a driving beat. With brilliant use of echo and sustained guitar effects, Ally plays a blistering lead passage over Danny's cymbal crashes.
It's easy to see why 'Into Dust' is a firm fan favourite as the passion in Ally's voice is intensity, as if jaded from a life full of broken dreams he is reaching out to the audience to be a part of something much bigger where music can be a force for change.
A departure in sound from the preceding tracks, 'For You My Love' has a catchy 80s like drum and bass pattern not too dissimilar to 'White Wedding', and the messages conveyed in the preceding tracks are cleverly expressed with a slick commercial edge. This could easily be in the opening credits of a movie.
Their last song, 'Just A Ride' is about the breakup of a relationship and is a really great song to end on and gets a fantastic reaction from the crowd. The Virginmarys set is over far too soon, a standout powerful performance from a band that has given so much they can be proud of.
The queue at the merchandise stall told just how many new fans they have won over and it's a strong possibility that The Virginmarys will be headlining The Roundhouse at some point in the future.
Reigning Days Setlist:
Do You Feel
The Virginmarys Setlist:
I Wanna Take You Home
Halo In Her Silhouette
Dead Man's Shoes
Free To Do Whatever They Say
Running For My Life
For You My Love
Just A Ride