Virgil and the Accelerators. STEVE GERRARD
When: Friday September 20th at 11pm
Where: Sala Fortuna, Hotel Torrequebrada, Benalmádena Costa
Tickets: 15 euros in advance from www.lastticket.es and the venue. 18 euros at the door.
The name Virgil and the Accelerators conjures up all sorts of images associated with speed. It’s easy to imagine an aspiring rock star talking nineteen to the dozen, in a hurry for success and keen to get an interview over with as quickly as possible. Instead Virgil McMahon turns out to be a calm, softly-spoken musician whose smooth South African accent sounds anything but “accelerated”.
It was soon all explained. The name was inherited from Virgil’s guitarist father who in turn acquired the title from Bruce Willis - nothing to do with impatient youngsters out to conquer the world at ever-increasing speeds.
“I think the name is cool,” says Virgil, 21, who fronts the blues-rock power trio with younger brother Gabriel on drums and Jack Alexander Timmis on bass. “It’s kind of got a fifties, vintage sound to it”.
It could well be said that Virgil was born a guitarist. The first ten years of his life were spent in South Africa where he and Gabriel were brought up in a world dominated by music.
“Stevie Ray Vaughn and Jimi Hendrix were the first bright lights in my life guitar-wise,” he explains.
These influences, along with numerous others, were handed down by parents who wanted their sons to be musicians and who moved to the UK in 2002 (when Virgil was ten) in part to help them achieve that.
Virgil claims to remember the day he decided to be a blues guitarist. He was four years old and watching Stevie Ray Vaughn on TV with his dad. “I just heard this amazing blues guitar and it just did something to me. After that my dad showed me Jimi Hendrix and I decided, ‘I wanted to do what those guys are doing’.
“The blues to me just sounded more real than anything else did.”
Virgil certainly went about achieving his ambiton.
“All I wanted to do was play guitar. I got expelled from school for playing the guitar when I shouldn’t have been,” he confesses.
Virgil and The Accelerators
When he was 14, now living in Wales and helping his dad at gigs in pubs, he was invited to join in. It wasn’t long before The Accelerators became ‘Virgil and the Accelerators’.
“I was humbled to join my dad’s band because my dad had always been my hero”, he says.
After brother Gabriel gave up boxing to take his strength out on a drum kit instead, a new bass player was found and the band was left in the hands of the younger generation. Virgil stresses that he is just one member of a three-man team.
“We’ve all got the same goal within this band. We’re all three equal members; we all write together and have ideas together. That’s how we work.”
So far the trio have produced two albums, their debut studio album, The Radium, and the second, Live at Marshall, both of which have had good reviews.
“A lot of the right people have said a lot of nice things about them. We hope everyone enjoys our music. We work hard on it. It’s all heartfelt. We’re very privileged to be putting our music out there.”
So how would Virgil persuade Costa del Sol residents to go to their gig in Benalmádena next Friday?
First of all sample the music, but where do we start? “I’d saying listen to ‘Working Man’ on The Radium or ‘Silver Giver’ which is slower. Or listen to ‘Backstabber’ which shows off a bit more of the harder edge to us,” he recommends.
“If you like it tell all your friends about it and come and see us at the gig. We can promise a good rockin’ night of music, and if they buy an album we’ll buy them a beer afterwards.”
You can’t say fairer than that.