It’s a cold late October night and myself and a mate are headed to The Actress & Bishop music pub. I know the Actress well and was a late night local when I lived just around the corner a few years back.
Always a great choice for live music and an interesting varied crowd of revellers.
On this occasion we were there to see the Surrenders, a rock/psych band from Gornal, in The Black Country.
The evening was hosted down stairs on a small stage opposite the bar with low lighting and reasonable gathering of people for a miserable winter’s week night.
First up was The Rambling Man, a moody soloist with a bluesy urban feel, this set the scene as people started to filter in, no easy feat being first to grace the stage but this musician held his nerve without any attitude or banter. Next on stage came As Mamas, a duo (normally three piece) who are heavily influenced by the 60s psych sound. A talented couple of musicians and their sound, i felt, was authentic and definitely up my street. I’d like to see a full band version some time, but the acoustic version left me hooked.
The Surrenders were there throughout watching and supporting the first acts which I think always shows a passion in other’s music not just their own egos.
And so the main act took to the stage, for an unplugged set. Even though it was toned down for a more subdued affair the rock side of this group really was simmering underneath each song.
Formed in 2013, there are influences of psychedelia and blues, with bands such as the Rolling Stones, Doors, and Led Zeppelin bubbling up. All the band members are of a high standard, which, mixed with their originality and authentic sound makes for an enjoyable evening. Add to that they look cool as milk and you have potential for longevity and commercial success – they have some catchy tunes in that repertoire.
The band have a mature sound with strong melodies and plenty of soul.
Lou Woodley the evening’s host was on hand to ensure a smooth running of events, and as the beers flowed so did the sounds.
A top night and worth looking out for more of these Unplugged nights at The Actress.
Review by Nick Byng for Grapevine Birmingham