Review: The March Violets
PUBLISHED: 16:04 11 June 2011
You'd be forgiven for thinking this was 1981, but somehow The March Violets have rekindled the perfect atmosphere of goth's heyday in 2011.
I’m stood in a social club car park, waiting to see the March Violets. Whilst the band are sound checking inside I’m surrounded by goths in skinny jeans and the smell of menthol cigarettes; the start of the first track pulls everyone into the poorly lit venue.
The Violets were there at the beginning, when the goth scene in Leeds was at it’s peak thirty years ago and they were one of the best. Label mates with quintessential groups like Sisters Of Mercy they produced classic tunes that are still played in alternative clubs today and now, after a long hiatus, they were back.
Maintaining their devotion to all things independent the UK tour was a small one with some surprising location choices - Arkwrights Social Club in Norwich being the most unexpected. Having had to move at short notice from the recently closed Marquee pub the organisers, young, local promotions group ‘The Belfry’, kept the gig intimate, in the odd but strangely fitting venue, with only 100 tickets available.
But it wasn’t just the indie nature of the place that had attracted them, for some members Norwich used to be their home town - singer Si Denbigh still has family in nearby Brundall.
After support from Midlands band Luxury Stranger, The Violets played a set spanning their entire history to a responsive and energetic crowd.
With the drum machine beat that gave the 80s it’s sound new bassist Jo Violet joined the remaining three original members, singers Si Denbigh and Rosie Garland and guitarist Tom Ashton, in making the show a nostalgic pleasure.
With dual vocals from Si’s deep, masculine tones and Rosie’s eerie soaring voice the band’s certainly had retained their gothic credentials but it was the quirky and dark punk attitude that made the gig.
From the classic Snakedance that they are remembered for to brand new tracks like Road Of Bones from their current EP the group got the crowd moving.
Other old favourites included Grooving In Green from the popular album Botanic Verses and the slightly creepy Dress 4 U from 2007’s Trinity EP. Another new track, A Little Punk Thing, backed by sirens, went down a storm with old fans and young.
The unmistakable Violets sound and energy had not been lost and had tapped into a scene experiencing a rebirth with a whole new generation to perform to.