Strock on, Virgin Soldiers

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I HAVE a confession - I had never seen Virgin Soldiers live before.

Despite writing numerous articles about a group which many consider to be the hottest new musical talent to come out of Battle and Hastings since Keane, I had yet to see them in the flesh.

The band has played various venues in Battle, Hastings and Crowhurst in recent months.

Various circumstances have conspired against me going to see the Virgin Soldiers - but all that changed last Friday.

The relaxed feel of Tonbridge School’s modern E M Forster Theatre proved to be the perfect setting for an intimate evening with the Virgin Soldiers.

And what an evening it was.

It is hard to define the Virgin Soldiers as belonging to a particular genre, so luckily the band have created their own - Strock.

Singer/songwriter James Beeny, who founded Virgin Soldiers, has previously explained that this expression best describes their fusion of classical string instruments with acoustic rock music.

Each song felt like a mini-masterpiece, lovingly crafted and honed over a period of time.

Not one single track gave the impression it had been turned around in a rush.

Gina Georghiou, ‘the little lady with the massive piano’, takes the lead on the vocals and possesses the most remarkable voice - powerful but at the same time delicate and fragile, with the ability to move you to tears.

The band’s set list included their debut single, the beautifully poignant Moon Song, which has become a firm favourite with the Virgin Soldiers’ devoted legion of online followers.

It is obvious the six-piece believe in their sound and the music they produce.

Hopefully with the help of their fan base, the Virgin Soldiers will eventually be able to take Strock to the masses and some much-deserved mainstream success.

Finally, a mention must go to support act, guitarist Sean de Burca, who was simply hypnotic to watch, with the audience finding it virtually impossible to draw their eyes away from his mesmerising hands.

* Virgin Soldiers will be supporting Joan Armatrading at the Kings Theatre, Portsmouth, on October 8.

by Laura Button