“If they can retain this level of modest confidence, it will be hard to envisage a year that doesn’t heavily feature The Wytches.”
With a shared first experience of one of Liverpool’s top gig venues, the Kazimier, I expect both myself and Brighton based The Wytches had a similarly enjoyable evening.
I had managed to arrive just in time for the start of support act Kid Wave’s impressive set; an almost REM-inspired take on the surf rock sounds that are currently circulating around the alternative scene. Although it could never be described as tame, Kid Wave’s ‘summery’ set was a pleasant precursor to the ensuing wall of noise that was to be the opening of The Wytches’ performance.
By this time the room had become throbbingly full, with every available space made increasingly more dangerous due to the persistent flailing of excitable fans’ mod-cum-goth hairdos. The set then flowed into the more ‘serene’ – I use this word lightly – with “Digsaw”, the first track of recently-released debut album Annabel Dream Reader. The pounding grunge arrangement of the songs, sandwiched between an echoing and eery guitar lick that Miles Kane in his Rascal days would have been proud of, provided an explanation for the ‘psych-surf’ label that follows the band.
Frontman Bell quietly yet assuredly made his way through the set in a very reserved and conservative manner – antithetical to the powerful nature of the songs – displaying all the stereotypical and apparently appealing angst that comes with the dark hair, pale skin image. An apparent lack of verbal communication between an act and its audience is often seen in a negative light, however this is not always the case, as the three-piece seemed to have absolute confidence that their music could stand up on its own without resorting to any ‘bad jokes’ scenarios – and I’d be inclined to agree. The way in which the band seemed to be completely nonplussed about whether they were performing in front of 400 or 4,000 was admirable and impressive.
As the Brighton trio neared the end of their performance with crowd and personal favourite “Wire Frame Mattress”, it was clear that they had affirmed their presence, thrashing out a set that was an excellent balance between surf rock and psychedelia. They hold the necessary edge that lifts them, or removes them, from what seems like a currently saturated alternative market, and a sound tighter than the jeans of gaggle of stage invaders that seemed to confuse this night at the Kaz with a Vamps gig at V Fest.
If they can retain this level of modest confidence, it will be hard to envisage a year that doesn’t heavily feature The Wytches, a highly promising band who have garnered a solid fan base and, in me, a level of excitement and anticipation.
WORDS: Joe Muldoon