The Virgins at The Old Blue Last
The 70s and 80s are not dead. Apparently they are very much alive and thankfully they haven’t brought their fashions into the 21st century with them. Last night The Virgins took a very willing London back several decades.
The Old Blue Last is a decent pub venue – the floor space was medium sized, the stage wasn’t too low and the sound quality was good. The Virgins attracted a big turnout and it was easy to see why. It was all very old school to the point where it seemed like a disco ball above the crowd should have been spinning and reflecting multi-coloured lights.
The influences in their music were innumerable and all very easy to pick up on once the initial feeling of time-travel passed. The songs contained snatches of everything from Free’s All Right Now to Don Henley’s The Boys of Summer, and a lot besides. They even seemed to borrow five seconds of a riff from the Beegee’s Jive Talkin’. Those bouncy song structures, though scavenged from all over the place, got even Londoners dancing and the end of Rich Girls had the floorboards shaking.
Oddly enough, for a band that formed in 2006, the music provided an apt reminder of the origins of more modern genres and offshoots such as punk, skate rock and stoner metal, among many others. Even now, these genres very noticeably hark back to the period of music that The Virgins so overtly emulate. At times it seemed that they had taken the pilfering a little too far without enough originality (in fact vocalist Donald Cumming went so far as to mimic the weird vowel-warping trend of the era) – but that seems to be the point, and it felt like they managed to get the balance just right. Just.
The Virgins are a band that sound better live than on record. They know precisely what they want to do and they know how to get a crowd going. Even if you’re a sceptic, it’s easy to come away pleasantly surprised.
Photos: Steven Taylor
For further information and future events visit The Virgins’ website here.
Watch the video for Rich Girls here: