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Beacons Metro 2015: The Wytches at Headrow House

12 November 2015
Beacons Metro 2015: The Wytches at Headrow House
The Wytches exist in a monochrome, demented surf-punk world. Mooching onto the stage at Headrow House Leeds on the 9th of Nov 2015, the four slightly shy indie boys create a huge wall of sound that batters the sold-out venue from start to finish. Opening with an organ-led jam that segues into a new song, C-Side, this slice of classic Wytches surf-psych very much sets the tone for the rest of the gig.

Beacons Metro 2015: The Wytches at Headrow House Article - 1 Baby in Vein - photography by Mark Wheelwright

The Wytches have led the Hardcore revival that has happened in the last few years and it shows. Though support acts Prison Whites and Baby In Vain are incredibly vital and show great promise, the Wytches are on another level, in terms of song-writing and sound innovation. The addition of the organ represents a big leap forward for the Wytches. It gives their sound more scope, adding flavours of Strange House-era The Horrors, or even 1960s psych like The Monks or The Sonics. The organ came into its own on a newer track, a much slower number, from their 2014 album Annabel Dream Reader called Summer Again. The organ gave the song another dimension, turning a waltzy croon-fest (with obligatory distortion) into an immersive, heart-wrenching epic.

Beacons Metro 2015: The Wytches at Headrow House The Wytches- Photography by Mark Wheelwright

One of the great things about The Wytches is that they are not content to merely play the songs as they sound on their records. They make them harder, heavier and faster. They twist them until they mutate and change. Gravedweller, one of their most renowned songs, is a surf-psych number on record, but played live it became a hard heavy snarling beast. This evolution of the songs displays a great maturity that other bands coming out of the woodwork today lack.

One might expect a Wytches gig to be packed to the rafters with giddy students but this isn’t quite the case. There’s quite an age range here, from wide-eyed 14 year olds right up to solemn, studious elders (mid-thirties) near the back. The Wytches’s popularity is shown not only by the sold-out venue but also by how enthusiastically the crowd responded to every song. Crowd favourites like Tricks and Dance and Robe for Juda are greeted as enthusiastically as newer ones like Wasteybois. The crowd’s enthusiasm and the Wytches’s on-stage reticence is displayed when several of the audience decide to crowd-surf towards the end.

For the die-hard Wytches fan this gig had everything you could ask for: it was a fuzzed-out, loud, angry, thrilling grungy joy-ride.

Will is a Volunteer Writer for Leeds Living, specialising in music writing. He attends gigs and festivals all across the city of Leeds