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Posts Tagged ‘lemacq

The Virgins – Dublin Castle

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This could be any city in the world, shoe horned into the dark, skin creepingly tight confines of a bare wall venue, dripping with the stench of sweat, a thousand spilt Red Stripe cans and endless spent bass lines, a group of shaggy haired Americans pumping out a taught set of stripped rock with roll included. There are tell tale signs though, the Club Fandango logo stage right, Steve Lemacq shuffling through to the bar and the pages of London Lite strewn on the bathroom floor, all revealing we are deep within the bowels of Camden, in the basement of the infamous Dublin Castle, a venue that manages to seem smoke ridden months after the ban. The Americans in question are Atlantic records play list bothering The Virgins, surely the most dishonest moniker in rock history.

The Virgins ply that New York City staple of dirty bass led blues rock that has reverberated around the hallowed walls of CBGBs a thousand times. It takes elements of The Stones, The Stooges and  The Boss and fires it out with a gossamer coat hewn from the sinews of youthful exuberance. Tonight is no different. They easily fill the stage space available, their line up expanded to five, creating a persona bigger than the sum of it’s parts. They begin slowly, a series of false starts and rambling jam like noodles perforate the air before things really kick off, but when they finally get around to launching into the rolling ‘She’s Expensive’ it’s almost a stealth attack dropping you into the middle of the song before you really realise what’s going on. For a band that was brought together by a Ryan McGinley photo shoot and has thus far only a handful of singles and a debut album to it’s name, coupled with a wave of hyperbole built around songs being featured on hit new US TV sensation Gossip Girl, it’s a blessed relief to feel the meat on the bones of songs like ‘One Week Of Danger’ and ‘Teen Lovers‘. There’s a good deal of substance here behind the style, which is a good thing as it would be easy to dismiss the rib exposing muscular rock as a Strokes/Razorlight lite concoction.  Formed in 2005 there is a long, long lineage to the music that The Virgins make, but that should not be an excuse to dismiss it out of hand. Though singer Donald spouts the same self assured lyrics that make you want to wreak furious vengence on Johnny Borrels vac formed visage he manages to do so with an innocent aloofness that directly channels ‘Aftermath’ era Jagger and manages to even sound genuinely evocative when slowed down for a solo slow song.

There is an abundance of well heeled young ladies in the audience tonight, no doubt drawn out by the Gossip Girl associations and the highly suggestive video to album fulcrum ’Rich Girls’, it’s ironic then that tonight their set is actually cut short and they do not get to air their biggest song to date. No matter though by the end of their  set they have won over the assembled throng and have the crowd baying for more. There are moments tonight when  the set dips a little, despite their debut album dropping The Virgins remain a few songs short of a killer set, there are still a few rambling edges, and whilst that haphazard appearance currently remains cute whilst they face shoe box venues and where the crowd can hear every off mic word, The Virgins are clearly aiming for greater heights, they will need a few more songs to make the leap, but for now they have the feet of north London and Steve Lemacq tapping.


Written by Jonathan

September 20, 2008 at 11:45 am

A trip to the arctic to find some virgins.

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Another day on the cobbles of that London town and some interesting discoveries. The first being that if you sleep beyond 9am you will almost certainly have emails informing you of the fact. Several phone calls this morning involed with organising the bands planning to storm 333 as part of the impending Who’s Jack? extravaganza: the Shoreditch Shuffle.  Never work with children or animals, so goes the saying goes, but where was the mention of not trying to organise bands whos gear is locked inside a studio as part of an ongoing recording bill dispute? Never a dull etc etc. You can read about just how incredible the Shuffle is going to be…here! This coming weekend 13/14th September it’s just what you need to chase away those deathofsummer blues.

Matt Helders...enjoying his Late Night Tales mix...possibly

Matt Helders...enjoying his Late Night Tales mix...possibly

First excitement of the day involved high tailing it down into London Tubey warren and zipping up to Angel in order to find the Old Queens Head pub on the Essex Road where that Arcitc Monkeys rhythm machine Matt Helders was waiting to wax lyrical about his new contribution to the Late Night Tales compilation series. Rekindling his teenage love of the wheels of steel it’s an eclectic party mix that takes in Italian horror movie moments, Modeselektor and disco drum heaven courtosy of those cow-bell kings, The Rapture. The fruits of this interview will be appearing in the pages of Who’s Jack and then latterly here.

Arriving just in time to witness a representative of a certain music weekly being reprimanded for deciding that instead of asking anything about the relevant mix album it would be more fun to adopt the baseball bat to the head school of journalism and repeatedly demand release dates for the 3rd album from ‘the day job’. Now from a pure cold hearted journalism point of view you can understand how that’s of interest…but this isn’t Hard Talk, the object is not to crack the subject and make him confess the unmentionable…especialy when they are there for entirely other purposes….still.

Looking after Matt were the very cool Ben from Outpost Media (who couldn’t be more helpful if he offered to come round to your front door and piggy back you to the interview Badly Drawn Boy stylee) and Sarah from Matts management company Wildlife Entertainment. Some interesting chat including very enthused noises about new prospects Detroit Social Club who you may or may not have already heard but peddle a gloriously swaggering blues soaked cacophony. They are currently playing the length and breadth of blighty so catch them whilst you can still taste the sweat in the air.

One interview down it was off to the Dublin Castle to hunt down some Virgins and get my foot trodden on by Steve Lemacq as he skulked around to Narration…. but a full review of the night will be posted in a mmoment!