Guest reviewer: Nick Byng from Grapevine Birmingham.

My Saturday nights are usually set aside for catching up with friends, possibly a city centre bar, or just a hot cocoa and an early night, however, last Saturday I was invited to review Tyler Bryant & the Shakedown at The Castle & Falcon (formerly CEOL Castle) on the Moseley Rd.

My music tastes vary and rock/blues is something I prefer to listen to live as it is more about the entertainment for me with this genre.

This old pub is at the bottom of the Moseley Rd and I have previously walked from Five Ways train station, which is about a thirty minute walk. I didn’t fancy walking on this occasion and was pleased to discover a taxi from A2B is just £5, which is well worth the fare in my opinion.

Tyler Bryant & the Shakedown Live

The pub was busy when I arrived. I was greeted by the owner and manager, then, with drink in hand I was escorted into the back room. A long spacious venue opens up with a stage which is high up, meaning the packed room full of rock fans had the perfect view. Tyler Bryant and the band appeared on stage – to a rapturous applause.

As Tyler wooed the attentive crowd, things that stood out for me were, the great showmanship displayed by these American musicians, journeymen, who gel together brilliantly as a unit, whilst still allowing Tyler to lead the way on stage.

Every song was packed with raw energy and fuelled with that deep American style abandon. The new track was great too, but perhaps needs a bit more practice as it didn’t quite work somehow compared to the rest of the set.

Towards the end of the night I picked up on the Tom petty cover and a bluesy version of ‘That’s alright momma’. In all Tyler has a brilliant voice which is complimented by accomplished musicians who all work very well together well – awesome dude!

Acoustics in The Castle & Falcon are superb, I didn’t leave with the usual ringing in the ears, yet you could feel the bass of every song. Perhaps the brick wall on one side and wood on the other, with medium height ceiling is conducive to warm acosutics. The crowd were respectful, the bar-service was fast, with a nice ambient lighting – not too bright.

Aftershow Night Club

After the gig, I decided to hang around. I was told the live music venue transforms into a nightclub later on. I had doubts about what to expect as the live music crowd seemed to filter away pretty quickly and the venue died off. However, within an hour the front bar was busy again, and the back room, now cleared of band equipment started to fill up with more punters, only this time, rather than leather jackets and ripped jeans it was a smart clientele who were up for a boogie.

I was pleasantly surprised, this is a brilliant all-round venue. No trouble that I could see, brilliant friendly security who seemed on the ball, and a really nice crowd, from the live gig to the club night after. It was a complete mix of people and rarely for Birmingham, an equal balance of sexes.

Whilst the club classics were not quite my choice, it makes you realise Birmingham needs a few more of these venues, because not everyone wants to go raving in a warehouse till 6am, or sit in a bar sipping cocktails, or chug-a-lug on real ales till they drop.

The Castle & Falcon is a traditional pub, with Irish Brummie heritage, which caters for a wide section of music lovers properly. The drinks are fairly priced, and I would definitely recommend paying the fiver from town to experience some of what this fab little boozer offers.

It’s also worth mentioning the Castle & Falcon have had a recent refit which looks smart and modern, the beer garden is a safe enclosed space and an added bonus. Above all.. The owners of The Castle & Falcon do actually give a shit about the experience their customers have, and it shows, by what I would imagine is a pretty loyal local crowd. Tell Ross I’ll be back to continue the discussion about travelling North West Scotland soon! Great times.

Review by Nick Byng from Grapevine Birmingham.