Ricky Warwick delivers a brilliantly committed performance in London

MetalTalk entered the Islington Academy, which is situated within the Vue shopping centre, with light hearts, looking forward to a glorious evening of live music. We, unfortunately, missed The Howling Tides opening set, but we’re looking forward to The Virginmarys.

Ricky Warwick and The Fighting Hearts, The Virginmarys

Islington Academy, 24 March 2022

Words: Robert Adams

Photography: Steve Ritchie

This was my first introduction to The Virginmarys, and it certainly won’t be my last. The glorious noise that guitarist Ally Dickaty and monster drummer Danny Dolan make has to be seen and heard to be believed.

The Virginmarys, Islington Academy.
The Virginmarys, Islington Academy. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

Think The White Stripes except a lot heavier and more melodic, and you’re almost there. Danny Dolan is on his third set of drumsticks by their fourth song, Running For My Life, due to the punishment he is giving his kit.

The Virginmarys, Islington Academy.
The Virginmarys, Islington Academy. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

Wood splinters are flying everywhere. It’s such a crime that the duo’s efforts are only in front of a still filling-up venue. The effort that The Virginmarys have made tonight is astounding. They are heading out on their headlining tour in May, and I highly recommend you check them out. You won’t be disappointed.

Ricky Warwick and The Fighting Hearts. Islington Academy.
Ricky Warwick and The Fighting Hearts. Islington Academy. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

By the time Ricky Warwick and The Fighting Hearts come on to the sound of Eminem’s Lose Yourself, the venue is not quite full. The band waste no time ripping into a wonderful cover of Mink Deville’s Gunslinger, which is on Ricky’s latest album When Life Was Fast And Hard.

The Almighty’s Over The Edge and Ricky’s own Damascus Street follow in quick succession, and it’s plain to see that the band mean business tonight. Thanking us for coming out to see him, Ricky introduces the next song as “coming from my latest album, which was released a year ago”, and we’re into You Don’t Love Me, with chiselled lead guitarist Ben Christo pulling out some gloriously fluid licks.

Ricky Warwick and The Fighting Hearts. Islington Academy.
Ricky Warwick and The Fighting Hearts. Islington Academy. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

Tonight’s setlist contains something for everyone and covers all of Ricky Warwick’s storied career from The Almighty, his solo work, Thin Lizzy (a wonderful run through Jailbreak) and one from his “day job” – Black Star Riders Finest Hour.

Unsurprisingly, songs from Warwick’s splendid When Live Was Hard And Fast album pepper the set with a snarling Never Corner A Rat and the joyous title track highlights. The heavy rock ceilidh that is Schwaben Redoubt should have got the Islington Academy doing Irish reels, but alas, it didn’t. This had nothing to do with the band’s efforts on stage. I think the beer at Islington Academy has been laced with Mogadon.

Ricky Warwick and The Fighting Hearts. Islington Academy.
Ricky Warwick and The Fighting Hearts. Islington Academy. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

The set closes with a steamroller through Motörhead’s Iron Fist that would have made Lemmy smile and a celebratory lap of The Almighty classic Free And Easy.

Ricky Warwick And The Fighting Hearts put in a brilliantly committed performance. It’s such a shame that they didn’t get the audience this gig deserved, as many London gig-goers are still showing Covid-19 reluctance. I know for a fact that his gigs in Glasgow, Dublin and Belfast tore the roof off the respective venues, which is no less than this set deserves.

Ricky Warwick and The Fighting Hearts. Islington Academy.
Ricky Warwick and The Fighting Hearts. Islington Academy. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

Ricky Warwick And The Fighting Hearts are returning to the UK for a few shows in May, and I hope, for their sake, that the audiences are more boisterous than the audience here in Islington tonight.

Ricky Warwick and The Fighting Hearts. Islington Academy.
Ricky Warwick and The Fighting Hearts. Islington Academy. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk
Ricky Warwick and The Fighting Hearts. Islington Academy.
Failing microphone’s. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk
Ricky Warwick and The Fighting Hearts. Islington Academy.
Ricky Warwick and The Fighting Hearts. Islington Academy. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk
The Virginmarys, Islington Academy.
The Virginmarys, Islington Academy. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk
The Virginmarys, Islington Academy.
The Virginmarys, Islington Academy. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

The Virginmarys

NYC

Portrait Of Red

Lies Lies Lies

Running For My Life

Northwest Coast

Devil Keeps Coming

Free To Do Whatever They Say

The Meds

Where Are You Now?

Killer

Look Out For My Brother

Just A Ride

Ricky Warwick And The Fighting Hearts

Gunslinger

Over The Edge

Damascus St

You Don’t Love Me

Jailbreak

When Patsy Cline Was Crazy (And Guy Mitchell Sang The Blues)

Never Corner A Rat

Wrench

Still Alive

Schwaben Redoubt

Fighting Heart

Jonestown Mind

You’re My Rock’n’Roll

Celebrating Sinking

Tattoos And Alibis

When Life Was Hard And Fast

All Sussed Out

Finest Hour

Iron Fist

Free And Easy

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