Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Robin 2. Bilston

The Robin 2
It's also a hotel
Birmingham has a quite a good selection of live venues, We've got the Town Hall, The Institute, The 02 Academy, The Birmingham Ballroom and the Rainbow all within about a mile of each other (+ The Hare and Hounds in Kings Heath). Outside of brumland itself one of the very best venues is The Robin 2. Situated in the nice looking but nondescript town of Bilston (not far from Wolverhampton) is where it lies.

It all started a couple of years a go when my M&D went to see Mostly Autumn there (sort of a prog/folk band) and later I went there to see The Hamsters.
In fact I think I saw The Hamsters there twice, and if you haven't heard of them or seen them live then sadly you missed out on the UK's hardest working and probably best blues band. It's a shame that they called it a day recently, because they were the first band I saw live and they were basically three old blokes with loads of talent and good humour. They could wow you by playing note perfect Hendrix covers one minute and make you laugh the next.
Looking at The Robin's gig guides (they book most of their shows a good year in advance) you'd be forgiven for thinking It's all tributes and European prog bands, but look deeper and its far more than that. You see The Robin prides itself on being a Rhythm and Blues club, and keeping true to its motto 'Keeping music live' because that's what you get, a great atmosphere and genuine live performances, there's no backing tracks, no excessive light shows, at The Robin It's all about the music.

A brief glance at their schedule and 'Stiff Little Fingers', Uli Jon Roth, Johnny Winter, The Blockheads and The Troggs are the bands who caught my attention, if your an old band who's still gigging this is most likely where you'll find yourself.
A brief glance into my memory and The Average White Band, Joanne Shaw Taylor (More on her another time) and  Walter Trout (legendary blues guitarist) strike me as the bands I remember the most. I've also seen some great tributes to The Beatles (This is where the Cavern Beatles play their annual homecoming Xmas Eve shows), Kraftwerk, and Hawkwind.
There's regular open Mics and unsigned competitions at The Robin too, so you'll find new bands too.

Inside the vibe is one of 'Agreeably Sleazy'. Its a relaxed place, no bigger than the downstairs of my house, if you knocked out all the walls (bad idea, the upstairs would fall down). The locals are friendly and the UV lit Bar is surprisingly well stocked. It's a in intimate venue but in a comfortable way, you can sit down and chat before the gig and get up right close to the bands when they're on.

Now that you know a bit about the place, tomorrow I'll tell you all about what happened when I saw Birmingham's very own blues legend Joanne Shaw Taylor play here.

Outdoor Covered Smoking Area
This is where the bands go for a fag.

Photo's from

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