Virgil and the Accelerators Army of Three Album Launch Show

The Borderline, London

Monday 29th September  2014

Virgil and the Accelerators set the blues rock precedent with Take Me Higher from their new album Army of Three as guitarist Virgil McMahon took the audience into a psychedelic dream state with his guitar solo. This trio is a tight unit with bassist Jack Timmis and brother Gabriel McMahon on drums who play what is needed and don’t overplay for the sake of it. Blow to the Head feels like a B-side for Jeff Beck’s Bolero as Virgil just lets rip to the audience’s delight.

Although their songs may not be polished lyrically (with the exception of Through the Night which has radio airplay written all over it) they are at heart an act that need to be seen live for people to really understand what they are trying to do. Give It Up sounded punchy on Virgil’s left-handed blue guitar which flowed through the special Marshall amplifiers with the bands logo built into the front.

Back catalogue songs Backstabber and Lowdown and Dirty were welcome as the strong rhythm section continued to create a rocky vibe that wasn’t dissimilar to that of AC/DC as Virgil switched guitars in his vast telecaster collection.

Throwing in subtle classics such as The Rolling Stones Miss You and Layla it is clear to see what these lads grew up on as they developed their craft.  Call from You sounded more like a pizza delivery order than a relationship conversation, whilst Free creates pictures of a cowboy riding a horse through the desert in Texas as the catchy chorus sticks in your head and won’t get out.

Virgil slowly went into Jimi Hendrix’s Are You Experienced? and you couldn’t hear a pin drop (with the exception of the shouty man at the front who was regularly met with intense shushing from nearby patrons). As the band let the song build it did feel a bit tedious as they could have performed another song in that time but it was well-executed nevertheless and actually sounded quite orchestral.

Two things became clear to me; firstly, this band would be a fantastic addition to any blues or rock music festival, and secondly, they are doing their own thing and enjoying themselves whilst they’re doing it. That’s what live music should be and as long as they keep on that path I’m sure we’ll be hearing more from them.

Glenn Sargeant