There is a reason they are called The Virgins. The obvious one. That they are, indeed, virgins. This should come as no surprise based on the fact that they appear to have barely obtained driver’s licenses, and therefore must resort to bribing older brothers or strangers to buy them porn, beer, and scratch tickets. I know the faux-precocious group sings of coke and promiscuity, claiming to be entrenched in the NYC clubbing scene—but based on that performance, I’m not buying it.
For one, no one was there. Sadly undersold at the Great American, knowing that they provided the soundtrack for an entire episode of Gossip Girl unfortunately didn’t lend them the self-assurance they needed to feign even a semblance of stage presence. It did, however, explain the mostly high school demographic. I think that if they were actually having sex, they might not look so awkward, and therefore would draw a bigger crowd. People don’t like insecurity. That’s not why they go to shows. They like confidence! Courage! Poise! Bearing witness to leader singer Donald Cumming was almost like watching Brian Krakow get up on stage and try his hand at singing pop-rock, right down to his stilted, arm-isolating dance moves. (Although I’ll admit they did grow on me after a while, if only because they proved he was alive. Without an instrument, I suppose he had to do something to occupy his idle hands.)
Second, they were pretending to be British. If they were getting laid, they wouldn’t feel they had to charm the chicks into bed by affecting a phony accent. Although Cumming’s gnarled teeth would indicate a telltale UK aversion to braces, they are from New York, for God’s sake. There are other ways to acknowledge the influences of British bands like The Kinks, The Kooks, and The Clash that don’t involve talking like Hugh Grant.
Third, Cumming chose to channel the Grim Reaper. Sexually active men (or boys, in this case) don’t wear long coats with hoods on stage. Period. The only thing missing was the scythe, which I probably would have commandeered and used on myself if it had been present.
As Celina (brave soul) and I drowned in a sea of breathless preteen hipster-bimbos clad in miniskirts entirely inappropriate for the freezing evening, we agreed that these boys would not have been the ones to fuel our fantasies during our youth. Gavin Rossdale served as a much better sex symbol, thank you very much. Sexiness aside, Cumming simply lacked the magnetism that front men generally possess. Not everyone is a born performer, and I don’t want to hate, so hey, perhaps with some practice—they have been touring nonstop—he’ll come up with a little song and dance that won’t put the non-enamored sector of his audience to sleep.
I wasn’t expecting to be bowled over by their virtuosity, but I was hoping to dance to what I had considered—and still do consider, oddly enough—an infectious record. Is there a cure for their concert cold? I don’t know. The Virgins could try looking like they want to be there rather than being too cool for their own concert…without actually being cool. Bottom line: the kids can write a hit song, but a catchy hook does not a successful band make. Would I buy the album, even after seeing this teenage train wreck? Yes. And as uncharismatic as they were, I’d be lying through my straight teeth if I said I wasn’t just a wee bit excited to hear “Rich Girls” live. But next time around I’ll hold a dance party in my apartment rather than spending money on a show that could be better spent on porn. Or beer. Or scratch tickets.