Manchester Academy 2
December 14th 2019
Review by Joanne Marsland
This promised to be a sweaty one from what I’d heard from the previous 3 nights of the Virginmarys tour and it was welcome on this freezing cold winters night. Low Orbit kicked the show off in style, playing a mix of back catalogue along with tracks from their fantastic new E.P 3rd Time Lucky. Down To The Wire is such a catchy little number that I was even singing it as I left the gig many hours later. This 5 piece rock band based in Macclesfield only caught my attention when I found out they were tonights support band but are now heavily featured on my playlist. Vocalist Martin has a great rock voice and stage presence backed by the rest of the band including cool man Matty on bass and the animated guitarist Gareth who gees the crowd up whilst also playing fantastic guitar along with Will, and Sam is superb on drums too. Watch out for these guys, I’ve a feeling they’re going places.
Haggard Cat were on stage next, a 2 piece grunge rock band from Nottingham, and I’d heard good things about them from the last 3 shows. They sure can make a lot of noise, Tom manically beats the hell out of his drum kit as if it has recently betrayed him and by the end of the set it’s left battered, bruised and scattered across the stage. Vocalist/guitarist Matt owns that stage from start to finish, he throws himself into the music and uses every inch of the stage, even climbing the barriers to get up close and personal with the front row. The band kind of reminds me of Biffy Clyro when they play their really heavy live tracks and Matt could easily pass for Simon Neil if he had more tats. The crowd went mental for them and they lived up to expectations of a very entertaining set. Look out for their new album Common Sense Holiday which is due out in March.
The crowd were buzzing by the time the Virginmarys walked onto the stage, the room was packed and I had an almost front row view. The trio went in hard as usual with Thousand Times and Portrait Of Red and after a few more and the raucous S.O.S.4.U.N.I I had to escape the carnage and move nearer the back, only because I had my boy with me and I didn’t want him crushed at his first ever gig.
In the midst of their fantastic back catalogue and tracks from the recent album Northern Sun Sessions they played a new track Killer which was phenomenal, great lyrics and catchy tune, but I’d expect nothing less from this band. Look Out For My Brother had the whole room singing and they finished with Ends Don’t Mend which was the first time I’d heard this bluesy track live and it was a goosebumps moment for sure. Ally returned to the stage for the encore, performing a magical acoustic version of Louis Armstrongs What A Wonderful World before being joined again by Danny and Ross to end the night with Blind Lead The Blind and Bang Bang Bang, and yes Danny had his gong out again!!!!
Not satisfied with that, the crowd managed to get them back out for one more song Taking The Blame, which brought the night to an end and what a way to finish a busy and fruitful year for these guys, can’t wait to hear more new songs next year and definitely will see them live at some point because the year just isn’t complete unless you do. Outstanding show guys!!!!