Tuesday 6 June 2023

The March Violets, Rescue Rooms, Nottingham

Supported By Kristeen Young & Vision Video

Tonight I am at the Rescue Rooms to see the March Violets for the first time in 37 years and I really haven’t been to anything this goth in probably the last 30 of those years. I’m talking mainly about the crowd here.

First up tonight is Kristeen Young who is mostly doing a Karaoke set with a load of hidden musicians although she does dabble at a keyboard. She pleasant enough and talks well, telling an interesting story about a D-Day veteran and her own then 18 year old mother while singing like Kate Bush in her operatic days. Overall Young, who gets 45 minutes, is a strange but satisfying experience.

Then on stage are Vision Video from Athens, Georgia and who also get 45 minutes for their punk goth or whatever you want to call it. Singer Dusty Gannon is an Afghan war veteran with a few stories of his own to tell. Both he, but particularly his colleague Emily Freedock, come in outfits that I thought were now banned or perhaps this is empowerment. They are also very chatty, interesting and do a cover of Joy Division’s ‘Transmission’.

 Now clear away the drum kit, it’s the March Violets.

This is only the second time I’ve seen them with the first time being in 1986 at the Nottingham Palais. At the time they were going through a pop phase and were led by Cleo Murray. They had a minor hit called ‘Turn To The Sky’ which I imagine is getting nowhere near the set list tonight because that phase is not regards as real Violets.

Guitarist Tom Ashton, who has been the only constant in the band over the years, was there that night but the other Violets original who is here tonight is singer Rosie Garland who left the band shortly before those gigs.

Those two got the Violets back together in 2010 along with another original member Si Denbigh when having just been a singles band they finally put together a proper album in 2014. Then sadly Denbigh suffered a stroke the following year. He can now no longer perform but now the other two have decided to return with William Faith on Bass. 

Garland says ‘If not now, then when?’ to the audience about them making another comeback with Denbigh’s absence probably in mind.

They open with ‘Crow Baby’ and rattle through other early classics such as ‘Radiant Boys’, ‘1 2 I Love You’ and ‘Grooving In Green’ along with ‘Made Glorious’ which is the title track from the 2014 album and the more obscure ‘Dress 4 U’. There were also two new songs.

Garland has great stage presence and prowls the stage while continuing to engage with the crowd between songs. She admits they are now all ‘old fuckers’ but continues the same theme of urging everyone to live life to the full as life is short and shouldn't be wasted. Get to see every band you want to see because one day it could be too late. Sound advice.

The set ended with the epic ‘Walk Into The Sun’ but they were soon back for an encore of ‘Strangehead’ followed by ‘Snake Dance’, a true goth anthem that still sounds immense.

It was a comparatively short set, just ten songs plus another two in the encore, probably due to having to give two support bands 45 minutes each to pay for it all but it was great while it lasted.

The March Violets Setlist Rescue Rooms, Nottingham, England 2023

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