Gig Review by Toni Woodward with Photography by John Bentley

The Wytches, Birmingham Sunflower Lounge, 27-2-14

First band on stage for tonight’s sell out gig are Adore. Unfortunately, I only manage to catch their final two songs but already the venue is heaving and the crowd appreciate the band’s early 90’s alternative vibe. Adore remind me at times of early Hole mixed in with glimpses of My Bloody Valentine bass lines. Being right at the back made it tricky to fully realise their sound, so I would definitely be interested in seeing them perform live again.

Adore, Birmingham Sunflower Lounge, 27-2-14

The next band to take to the stage is Wolverhampton’s God Damn. God Damn have recently signed to One Little Indian and just completed a national headline tour, whilst trailing up and down the country you certainly get a sense that their impetus is growing. Undoubtedly, they locally have a loyal and ever growing fan base that has supported the band through a tumultuous year. It takes a matter of seconds, into Red Checker, for you to understand that you are part of a unique experience. The volume that the duo create is incalculable, the colossal “girth” produced by guitarist, Thom Edward, resounds around the room whilst Ash Weaver smashes the drums with untamed power; resulting in a corporeal attack upon everyone in the room. After their legendary gig at the Hare and Hounds in January, God Damn have taken the opportunity, during this support slot, to test out some new songs before they head into the studio. Needless to say they are received with a warm welcome and the usual carnage of a mosh pit and stage diving continue. God Damn’s sound has distortion and immensity whilst managing to interweave heavy melodies that are reminiscent of Jesus Lizard, Metz and at times Nirvana in their Bleach era. Considerately, Thom asks The Wytches if it is acceptable for them to play a longer set than usual which is a popular request and allows time for nine blistering songs in all. The onslaught is fulfilled with Dangle Like Skeletons that sees Thom being carried over the crowd and attempting to abandon his guitar on the lighting rig as warped feedback resonates, leaving only the drums to be lifted off the stage into the audience. God Damn truly stir up something animalistic through their rhythmic changes, and this power flows between the band and the crowd increasing with intensity as the set continues, culminating in an authentic experience which truly embraces the essence of rock’n’roll.

God Damn, Birmingham Sunflower Lounge, 27-2-14

God Damn, Birmingham Sunflower Lounge, 27-2-14

God Damn, Birmingham Sunflower Lounge, 27-2-14

The Wytches are a Brighton based band that have recently been signed to Heavenly Records and undertaken a number of support slots for tours with the likes of Drenge. Their music has been described as “surf doom” which is a fair assessment; however, I would also add that there are distinct psychedelic influences which dilute the pure surf guitar sound. Marc Riley has been championing their music on 6Music and they have drawn in a sizeable crowd, many of which know most of the lyrics to the majority of the tracks and are thoroughly enjoying the set. Kristian Bell’s vocals have a nasal sound which reminds me of Gene Ween crossed with Alex Turner that pierces through the instrumental construction. The bass and guitar parts are well constructed and use space cleverly to create interesting songs most noticeably with Beehive Queen; however, it is the slower track Wide At Midnight that attracts my attention the most. This more relaxed pace and use of different guitar sounds presents a change to the evening’s proceedings and show The Wytches ability to turn their hands to subtlety. As the set draws to a close, the crowd surfing is taken to another level, and the applause are sincere as much of the audience take to the stage. Following God Damn would never be easy as they are such a tour de force and The Wytches made a valiant effort, yet for me, their music didn’t have the weight or uniqueness to compete. It is energising to see so many people appreciate music with such vigour and enthusiasm which is a credit to the artists that performed and their ability to rouse such feelings within others.

The Wytches, Birmingham Sunflower Lounge, 27-2-14

The Wytches, Birmingham Sunflower Lounge, 27-2-14

The Wytches, Birmingham Sunflower Lounge, 27-2-14

The Wytches, Birmingham Sunflower Lounge, 27-2-14

The Wytches, Birmingham Sunflower Lounge, 27-2-14

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