Skip to main content

Sonisphere 2014: The Virginmarys & Reckless Love

Finnish glam metallers and raw Northern rockers sing us into the Bohemia stage.

Some bands hark back to the 80s, some briefly reference the 80s, and then there are those who just might think we’re still in the 80s. For real. Based on their spandex-boogie set today, you can’t help seeing Reckless Love fall into the latter category. “Who’s ready for some Animal Attracshaahhhhn?!” cries (ex-Crashdïet) vocalist Olli Herman - bleach-blonde locks flying, gleaming ripped torso poised for an end-of-set outing - and they’re off, sprinting with gleeful abandon into Animal Attraction.

We’ve seen some retro stuff in our time, but this is SO ‘of-a-certain-era’ our eyes almost pop out into our pint. Still, the blatant self-awareness at play makes it that bit easier to turn a blind eye to all the cheese (and fuck me there is a LOT of cheese) and enjoy. “We are a cheesy band!” Olli declares, arms aloft, “and it ain’t easy being this cheesy.”

Funnily enough they then dive into one of their strongest tunes I Love Heavy Metal - boasting the kind of glam/party metal chops to reignite the heydays of Whitesnake, Bon Jovi and the like. It’s like the 00s never happened (or the 90s for that matter), but in their slickly executed, unrestrained form, today’s Reckless Love shenanigans are most welcome among the merry festival goers gathered. [7]

Macclesfield trio The Virginmarys don’t do bleached locks, or spandex, or glitter-laden flamboyance. But their visceral, vicious and vital alternative (honestly, the giant ‘V’ backdrop is very fitting) is a fierce force to behold - not least thanks to the fact that, in debut LP King Of Conflict, they have an stirring, excellent life source from which to draw today.

And draw they do, with increasing sting, bite and all manner of other savage terms (in the good sense). Bang Bang Bang makes an emphatic entrance, Ally Dickaty’s possessed cry “baby treat my body like a canvaaasss!” in Portrait Of Red generates one of the festival’s most spine-quivering moments, and drummer Danny - beating the crap out of his drumkit, one-handedly at times - has the look of one who might actually leap across the stage and take on the entire front row in a fist fight.

He doesn’t, thankfully, and all raw aggression is channelled into their blistering half hour, concluding with a storming Dead Man’s Shoes. A stonking set from an elegantly gritty, class act, poised (if they can keep up this level of songsmithery and rawly driven performance) to became a lasting feature on the rock landscape. [8]

Polly is Features Editor at Classic Rock magazine, where she commissions regular pieces and longer reads (including new band coverage) and writes a few things. She also writes for Louder, Prog and Metal Hammer, and talks about songs on the 20 Minute Club podcast. In her spare time she writes fiction and cooks.