“What kind of band follows ‘Get Lucky’ with Black Sabbath?” “A bunch of c**ts!” And so was the tone on Thursday night at The Actress & Bishop, an evening of delicious rock and roll music fully capable of blowing you away. Swerve are a band with no qualms about who they are, and the confidence their talent provides them with is one that carries its own allure. Wishing a happy birthday to Kurt Cobain and Rihanna, frontman Mike Ball illuminated the room with disco lights, and the group launched into a tightly-honed set that instantly connected with their audience. ‘Honeydripper’ flooded the room with swirling instrumentals, whilst the lingering refrains of ‘Here’ showcased the band at their rawest. Briefly foraying into the French language between songs, their laid-back conversations with the crowd presented them as a band anyone can access. Swerve’s penultimate track (yet to see release) stood out amidst the rest – an extended mix of deliriously self-indulgent solos that you’ll practically beg to lose yourself in. Set closer ‘Spirit Rising’ saw the bands fondness for instrumentals meet rocking refrains and delightfully raw vocals, until, alas, they were over too soon. Shadowed without the colourful glare of a disco ball (performers: take note), ANiMA took to the stage ready to show off what they were all about. The band have been carving out their name across the local scene as one of the city’s rawest and most frenetic acts – and they certainly didn’t disappoint. Frontman Dan Sheridan (dressed somewhat like a gothic glitter pirate) lit up the room with his energy, leaving the stage to strut around the room, and even at one point to gambowl. Resounding vocals and layers of guitar refrains kept those gathered firmly rooted in front of the stage. With a shoutout to their CDs and social networks, they powered into their final song: heavy refrains and thudding percussion engulfing the room as the band revelled in the attentions they were holding. You can never really know what to expect with cover bands – the balancing act of mixing genres but remaining successful is one that can easily go awry. Uncle Jim shoed just why they’re a group worth paying attention to. Covering songs from Black Sabbath, Blondie, Daft Punk, and Fountains Of Wayne, the bands sense of humour and sheer enjoyment for what they played make them a group it’s impossible not to appreciate. Their rock and roll swagger, coupled with synchronised Busted/Mcfly jumps (how many practices did that take guys?), injected their show with a frivolity that was all too contagious. The band were heckled into remaining on stage for an encore that included Stevie Wonder’s ‘Superstition,’ drawing the nights proceedings to a close with a knack and a charm that had the whole room under their spell.
- Drenge + TRAAMS + Kagoule, Hare & Hounds, Birmingham 19/02/14
- TOY + The Proper Ornaments + The Grafham Water Sailing Club, The Rainbow, Birmingham 21/02/14