The Virginmarys play a sold-out, intimate gig for the launch of their second album, Divides.

The second of two sold out shows celebrating the release of Divides sees an extremely hot and sweaty crowd squeezed into the Black Heart for this up close and personal gig with the Macclesfield trio.

Opening the night are Fizzy Blood with a boisterous brand of rock. The five-piece band has some serious attitude and venture from the small stage out into the audience. Their material is a mix of metal and rock, with a hint of blues. They bring a tremendous energy to the event to kick off the evening.

The Virginmarys receive a massive cheer as they take the stage. Their fans have been waiting several years for this second album to be released, and all are hoping the follow-up to King of Conflict will be just as good live, if not better.

It’s a high-octane opening of punk rock with a triple whammy of tracks from the new album; “Push the Pedal,” “Halo In a Silhouette” and “I Wanna Take You Home.” It is an explosive outburst of raw and energetic music with emotive lyrics.

Danny Dolan pounds the drums and cymbals with a mighty ferocity whilst Matt Rose keeps perfect time with his heavy driving basslines and solid backing vocals. Ally Dickaty delivers grungy riffs with an abundance of bluesy licks and solos, all while singing and screaming the lyrics with verve and feeling.

The set is littered with the superb new songs and a scattering of their early tracks, “Just A Ride” and “Portrait in Red.” The crowd sing, shout and scream along to them all; the band has never ignored the devotion of their fans for learning new lyrics. They thank everyone for their patience and loyalty whilst waiting for the album. The title may be “Divides,” but the Virginmarys are doing the complete opposite in bringing people together with their music.

Picking out a particular highlight is difficult but “Take a Walk in My Shoes” is seriously impressive. It is a powerfully worded song which builds up through the quiet, melodic verses, ascending to an impassioned, roaring chorus. It certainly would not look out of place as the opening theme to any Hollywood blockbuster.

The Virginmarys’ performance is a step up from anything they’ve delivered previously. They are tight and polished, with a thoughtful blend of the album tracks peppered with early anthems. The band appears to be more than ready to move up the industry ladder, given the chance.

The guys take a quick break to dry off and catch their breath. Returning to the stage for an encore they launch into a new track, “Moths to a Flame,” and finish with the thunderous “Bang, Bang, Bang” a fitting climax to an outstanding performance.

Divides is available now.

The VMs play Camden Rocks on June 04 and then head out on tour with dates throughout the UK. They are a band on the up which should definitely be on any “must see” list.

Photos by Eric Duvet.

The Virginmarys
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Fizzy Blood
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