“Bunch of bloody chatterboxes, this lot, aren’t they?”
Formed in Peterborough back in 2011, but now based in Brighton, The Wytches are not exactly renowned for their witty repartee. What they are, though, is consistently one of the most creative and unique bands in the country.
Their intense stage manner really reflects everything that they do. Their music is dark, incredibly loud, and almost impossible to categorise. The band themselves have described it as ‘doom surf’, which sounds like a total contradiction in terms, but does actually kinda work. To be honest, though, you could also say some combination of grunge, post-punk, psych and others besides, and still not be too far off the mark.
In recorded form, they have often flattered to deceive. Latest album, Our Guest Can’t Be Named, their fourth long-player, is probably their best to date, but is still a little uneven and drags in places. With this band, though, the records are almost incidental, little more than a soundtrack to where they really excel – on stage.
Tonight’s show in Tufnell Park is day three of a nine-show run through Britain and France. A big crowd is on hand, as there always seems to be for this band. People who like The Wytches, REALLY like The Wytches.
Main support tonight comes from London’s A Void. I interviewed this lot in a wet doorway in Bristol about four years ago (oh, the glamour!). At that point, they were still pretty raw, and the live show was barely-confined chaos, but the talent and the potential was very clear to see.
Tonight, we see just how far they have come. The guitar sound is much fuller, the new drummer is incredible, and Camille Alexander’s vocals have really matured. There is still a certain amount of chaos, but it’s at a level that adds to the experience rather than detracting from it. Songs like ‘Newspapers’ show a real progression in songwriting too.
Even more exciting, the best song of the night is a new one that they are playing live for the first time, which bodes well for their future trajectory. Can’t wait to hear more.
Many headline bands would struggle to match up to what A Void brought, but The Wytches are no ordinary band. Opening with the grungey ‘Something To Fall Back On’, the noise goes straight up to 11, where it stays for the whole of the next hour and a bit.
By the time we have got through ‘Maria’ and the ever-brilliant ‘Gravedweller’, a large moshpit is in full swing. One thing that is really notable tonight is the high proportion of females in the audience. Anyone who tells you that girls don’t like loud music needs to go see a Wytches show. It doesn’t get much louder than this, and the ladies were well into it. You love to see it.
Tonight, the band blast through a healthy mix of the new album and some old cuts. Despite their extensive back catalogue, a decent proportion of the crowd seem to know all the tracks word-for-word. Safe to say, there is a good number of people who are seriously passionate about The Wytches.
Some may dislike the absence of chat between songs, but for this band, it really works perfectly. They build up such intensity with their music, and to break that spell between songs would really ruin the effect. By doing it the way they do creates an incredibly immersive experience.
While the tempo drops in places, the volume and quality certainly do not, with ‘Bats’ and ‘Sloped Old Tower’ keeping the crowd in their spell. Still, the sound of those opening bars of ‘Digsaw’ trigger the most excitable reaction of the night, and quite rightly so. One of the band’s earliest singles, it’s still a classic.
The Wytches really are a band to celebrate. A band making a truly unique brand of music, and doing so in very much their own way, Plus they are fucking loud, my God they are. Long may they continue.