I think it’s fair to say that small, sweaty, crowded venues are not everyone’s cup of tea. The elbows in the ribs, the rush to the bar between bands as everyone tries to get a drink in order to retain their space, and the fact you always end up with your head embedded in the back of the person stood in front of you doesn’t make for the most comfortable of live experiences. However, there is an electric, raw sense of community which can be produced at such venues, dependent on the bands performing. The perfect mix of brutally honest deliverance with intense playing and a hint of professionalism is required. And so, in the four brick walls and red glow of the Shipping Forecast, it was The Wytches turn to attempt to meet that mark.
The Wytches interview – Shipping Forecast 13/02/2014 by Lsradio Interviews on Mixcloud
Floral shirts and laid back surf-pop may be something you tend to associate that with another era, but local lads Beach Skulls have been making a valid attempt to rekindle some life into the old combo. The two-piece draped their simple, seductive tunes over the on-looking crowd, and managed to press the odd ‘not bad’ from members of the audience. However, the lack of intensity and diversity between tracks and the absence of a bassist meant the sound was unable to fill out in the fashion desired. At times, most noticeably on single ‘Meet Me At The Beach House,’ Beach Skulls offer funky guitar fills, woozy verses and lead singer Jordan Finney’s enticing vocals, giving them an attractive dynamic. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough, and despite delivering a solid performance, the waves they rode in came to shore feeling flat.
Nottingham trio Kagoule have managed to assert their position as a band to be excited about, with mentions on NME’s Radar as well as other major magazines. Their intricate, haunting melodies and shoe-gaze aesthetics filtered between sucking in the engaged crowd and exploding in front of them in a sea of distorted force. With all the good bits of early Placebo, as well as hints of Bombay’s first record, Kagoule’s beautiful creativity shone while they lured onlookers closer to the front. As their set concluded, the audience was tighter, the sweat levels had risen, and the anticipation was peaking for tonight’s final band.
By the time The Wytches emerged, the crowd had fully realised its best sardines-in-a-tin impression, with the atmosphere and tension thick enough to be cut with a knife, if you could move your arms that is. The tangible air wasn’t just sliced by The Wytches however; it was shattered by them. As they charged from track to track, not once did they allow for a breath or break, wearing their energy and passion on their sleeves and demanding the crowd do the same. And we did. From the intensity of ‘Wide At Midnight’ to the doom-esque riffs of closer ‘Crying Clown,’ the audience was becoming less a mass of people and more one cohesive unit of demonic devotion. As their set ended, the crowd had filled into the bands performance space, with the bassist at one point having his mic hit him in the face due to a human missile which shot from the crowd. The life had been sapped from the Shipping Forecast, but the satisfaction which replaced it was all the more rewarding.
As Kristian Bell’s grainy vocals grinded to a halt and The Wytches began their retreat, the cries for more perfectly encapsulated the bond forged between the crowd and the band. Our umbilical cord had been cut, our feed of musical mayhem had dried up. However, the sense of society and togetherness which The Wytches and co. had managed to distil remained, and it left a sense of bittersweet joy in those filtering their way out. We had been part of The Wytches family, if just for one night. A family I would encourage you all to consider joining.