Review and photos by Rich Ward
Bromsgrove isn’t exactly well known for its burgeoning rock scene, so tonight is a bit of a treat as the Artrix has opted to play host to a couple of rising blues rock bands. First up are Albany Down, who have been impressing with their debut album. The opening salvo of ‘I Won’t Wait’ is a solid and concise slab of rock that nestles somewhere between classic Clapton and the contemporary blues of Bonamassa. Album title track ‘South Of The City’ is one of the highlights of their set with some well executed slide guitar from Paul Turley resulting in some authentic sounding Southern Blues. A promising band that deliver a solid set, unfortunately, in a market that is fast becoming saturated with Blues Rock groups, it takes more than just some good songs to progress. Their stage image is such that it looks like they have just come straight from their office jobs and not bothered to get changed. Working on their image and how they present themselves could go a hell of a long way to making them one of the bands people will want to spend their hard-earned cash on going to see over the next band.
- Check their website here
That little extra something is what Virgil McMahon and his Accelerators has managed to achieve. I’ve seen Virgil & The Accelerators several times over the last three years, and they have grown and evolved hugely in that time, not only musically but also in appearance and confidence. Their debut EP from a couple of years ago And So It Begins failed to measure up to their live act. Constant touring has cemented the band, and last years’ The Radium debut album was simply stunning. From the moment they take the stage and launch into ‘Working Man’ it is apparent that Virgil and co. are incredibly focussed. A couple of the album’s shorter and hard-hitting tracks follow in the guise of ‘Bad Girl’ and ‘Backstabber’. A cover of ‘Scuttle Buttin’ pays tribute to one of their biggest influences in Stevie Ray Vaughan. Almost all of the Radium album gets an airing to the hometown crowd. Two of the lengthier pieces in ‘Silver Giver’ and ‘The Storm’ close the show. With blistering, extended solos from Virgil in both it would have been prudent to have separated them with a shorter song between to maintain momentum. And an encore of Hendrix’s ‘Are You Experienced’ rounds off an excellent evening of well received music.
If Virgil & The Accelerators continue to follow the same trajectory, then bigger venues and a wider recognition will be inevitable. If you have yet to catch them, or it’s been a while since you did, get out and see them in an intimate venue while you still have the chance. Tonight, the local boys done good!
- Check their website here
And you can see Rich’s photos from the show here: