Review: Virgil & The Accelerators – Live At Marshall

Posted on: Sunday, Apr 28, 2013

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Virgil & The Accelerators – Live at Marshall

(Mystic Records)

Virgil first picked up and began plucking the mandolin at the tender age of five, after seeing his fathers’ performances at The Radium Beer Hall in South Africa; (these early memories created the title ‘Radium,’ for V&TA’s debut album.) From this early age Virgil immersed himself in the music of artists such as; Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan and ZZ Top, at the age of twelve he was invited by Otis Grand to join him in a jam session.

From this springboard opportunity Virgil became a prolific performer in and around his new home in Wales; after a while he formed a band with his brother Gabriel on drums. Following a performance at The Anchor, in London in 2009 the band were invited to the join The New Generation Blues Tour which featured Joanne Shaw Taylor and Oli Brown, also, Virgil, who at the age of 18 became the youngest shortlisted entrant in the 2010 British Blues Awards. It was about this time, that the band line-up became finalised with Jack Timmis supplying bass.

It is not often that a band feels confident enough to strike out with their second album let alone make it a live album; it is with only supreme confidence of ability and skill or extreme foolhardiness that such a venture is embarked upon.

The studios at The Marshall Amplification H.Q. can accommodate an audience of approximately 350 and this was a crowd filled with a bubble of eager anticipation, the bubble soon burst with the crashing, bursting guitar break of “Working Man,”  the guitar work of Virgil has hints, tints colourings and echoes of Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page and Ritchie Blackmore, with this stated, we must bear in mind that most of the music that we ‘oldies’ refer to is at least forty years old and this whole genre of music is more of a repository of wide and varied good influences, rather than a bank to be robbed.

“Bad Girl” and “Backstabber” contain elements of solid boogieing blues and metal that is all fast forward riffing with catchy and appealing unapologetic retro lyrics. The band has a solid footapping groove that carries you happily along. The powerhouse drumming of Gabriel and the deep locked in bass of Jack Timmis allows Virgil complete freedom to roam across his fret board wherever his fingers take him.

On numbers such as; “Racing With Life” and “Chameleon,” Virgil explores his fascination with the style of Hendrix and the lavish use of wah,wah. The Stevie Ray Vaughan cover of “Scuttlbutin,” rolls easily into the Texas blues territory with Virgil nailing the laid back feel of Texas blues. The band move into a solid blues groove with “What Am I to Do?” “Eighty Eight” “Don’t Shake My Hand” and “Silver Giver.”

Considering the eagerness of youth and that it is a live album Virgil never goes overboard with his solos and shows a great deal of knowledge, restraint and respect especially on slowburners such as; the moving “Don’t Shake My Hand,” and “Silver Giver,” The band finish the hundred minute plus concert with an indulgent riffing twenty minute encore consisting of “The Storm,” “Bullet in the Head” and “Are You Experienced.” This is a very fine DVD/CD package for all blues-rock lovers, my only complaint is that some of the camera angles were employed to no good effect at all and the only bonus feature is a pre-concert ten minute interview with the band.

Recommended

BRIAN  HARMAN

www.virgilandtheaccelerators.com

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