REVIEW: Tom Mozz
THE WYTCHES / CANNIBAL ANIMAL / MUSH
Since releasing their sophomore album entitled All Your Happy Life just over a year ago, The Wytches have been busy touring and promoting the album. No easy feat considering the huge success of their lo-fi debut Annabel Dream Reader, which received huge praise from music magazines and gig-goers all across the country. With the second album, the band definitely picked up where they left off. The 11 tracks stay consistently gloomy, sticking with the “Surf Doom” label they had been bestowed with earlier in 2014. The record is an interesting development of the band’s creative capabilities, with the overall feel of the songs being somewhat less furious and hard hitting.
They’ve recently released a new single in 2 different versions which you can check out here.
Cut to a gloomy Thursday night on the brink of December, and I’m sat in Queens early doors with my old bandmate Connor Cheesman. Vulgarians have had the pleasure of playing with The Wytches numerous times since my involvement, but for me, it’s been nearly 2 years since I’ve seen any of the band, and I’m eager to see how they’ve progressed during that time. It gets to about 7 and we’ve arranged to meet Gianni (the drummer) in pave for a catch-up and a pint before the gig. We’ve both had a couple of pints now, and the usual band geek chat starts up. “Yeah, man King Krule is ace, but do you think his new album is actually that good?”.
He strolls up to our table with his hand out in front of him.
“Hiya mate I’m Gianni.”
He doesn’t remember me. It has been 2 years, and many haircuts since we last encounter so I’m not that surprised.
“I know mate, I used to be in Vulgarians…”
He remembers. After several statements on my new hairstyle, all is forgotten, and the awkwardness has settled.
We leave and slink over to Polar Bear to play pool and catch up with the rest of the band. Also to take advantage of some of The Wytches rider, obviously. Before I know it, Cannibal Animal take to the stage. A fair few have arrived early to see them, and it’s no surprise. These boys play fast and loud, and they’re definitely no stranger to a packed out crowd and blowing a few amps. Recently the 3 piece became a 4 piece with the addition of friend and the local man on the scene Jacob White.
This is the band’s last show of the year, and people have come out early to catch ‘em one last time before we’re thrown into the new year. For the past 3 years, Cannibal Animals ferocity and pulsing bass lines have been greeted with great support from the punk community, and they have played gigs at numerous well-known venues across the country as they carve a name for themselves into the music industry. As the opening song starts, it’s a sea of bobbing heads and teenage thrashing, pretty standard stuff for a psych-grunge gig in Hull. Things carry on in a similar fashion. Reverb soaked guitar effects and angry snarled vocal lines fire into the crowd, almost as if they’re being punched in the faces of the onlooking audience. It’s a raw and exhausting set, but I feel it is the perfect start to long, riff-laden night. We’re gonna be keeping an eye on Cannibal Animal in the upcoming months, and I’ve heard through the grapevine we can expect a new EP early next year. Until then you can get their existing material via their Facebook page here…
Second on the bill for the night are Leeds band Mush. I’ve heard good things about these lads from a friend over at BBC Introducing, and I’m eager to see what the fuss is about. Having recently missed a few opportunities to catch them live, I make sure I’m good and close to the front as to not miss any of the action. As soon as the band starts, they have my full attention. Stagemanship and a full-on energetic mayhem are obviously high up on the list of what these guys are all about. It’s a hell of a live show. Visually it’s a great show, but the tunes are also right up my street. For any fans out there of Pavement and Parquet Courts, imagine if those two bands made a baby, Mush would be said baby. A vinyl will be available to purchase from early March, and you can keep up to date with the band’s activities here…
By the time The Wytches are on stage and tuning up, the room is packed tight. People pushing forward trying to get as close to the action as possible, and there’s a real excitement in the air. It’s shoulder to shoulder, and at this point, if you needed to get to the toilet, you’d had it. 2 songs in, and it’s mayhem. The mosh pit is in full effect and I can barely see the band in action for bodies crowd surfing. In fact, it gets so intense by halfway into the set, that I make the conscious decision to move towards the back of the room, just so that I don’t spill any more of my pint over a teenagers head.
As far as the live performance, they’re exactly how I remember them, and I couldn’t be happier. I see they still pride themselves on playing with a high decibel level, and an intensity that’s rarely seen these days. The setlist is a good mix of old and new, playing all the favourites from the old album as well as the new, and even sliding in a few numbers from the previous EP. Blistering doom-laden riffs are the main order of the night, and are gratefully received by a crowd that is well and truly losing their shit. I can honestly say I’ve personally not seen a crowd react to a gig like that in Hull for a long time, with the only one I can think of coming anywhere near was Weirds earlier in the year. There’s no doubt everyone who witnessed the show left satisfied.
Fast forward 2 hours and myself, Jamie from Cannibal Animal and Gianni are stood at the bar in Welly, but that’s another story for another time…