In an already crowded archway venue in Charring Cross, gothic Brighton based garage rock band, The Wytches take to the stage. This is probably the biggest stage that they’ve ever played yet they seem fairly comfortable and confident and the sound is LOUD. This is perhaps because we’re standing right at the front of the venue by the speakers and the monitors but the lustrous abrasiveness of their sound really doesn’t help matters- from the cracking vocals of frontman Kristian Bell to the down-tuned guitars and chromatic riffs. It’s almost like the Wytches are doing everything they can to insult and abuse their listener’s ears but this is good thing if you’re into something a bit more experimental than your generic pop band. It’s certainly means that they’re a breath of post-punk fresh air and with a set so tight (due to their excessive touring of the UK over the past year), they sure are ready to show the world what they’re made of.
After the break up of McClusky, singer and guitarist Andy Falkous and drummer Jack Egglestone went on to form Cardiff based band Future of The Left, incorporating members of Million Dead to become the band they are today – a raucous, older and improved version of McClusky, spitting staccato riffs venomously at the audience before them. They’re a band one would certainly not want to get on the wrong side of; one man tries his luck with heckling and it doesn’t go down well at all as he is told to “shut the fuck up” in front of 1,000 people. There’s no point in even trying to outwit Falkous – you will never win.
When entering the doors of the venue which is ironically a massive gay club during the weekends, you’re on your way to witnessing one of the most virile, loud and downright terrifying bands in the industry. At one point there is not one but two bass guitars being played which adds to the band’s ferocious sound. For most bands, this wouldn’t work as if they were played even slightly out of time it would sound sloppy and drone like; FOTL however, are not your average band and the bass playing is as tight as fuck, the two guitars merging together to creating one huge sounding riff.
The dedicated audience before them are already familiar with the lyrics to tracks from the band’s new album How To Stop Your Brain In An Accident with songs like ‘Singing of the Bonesaws’ and ‘Johnny Borell Afterlife’ being set highlights. Another key moment though was when, after teasing us for a while with some familiar sounding drums and bass, the band launched into McClusky’s ‘To Hell With Good Intentions’, this moment was the start of a (rather tame compared to how it became later on) mosh pit. As the average age at this gig was about 35 years old, you’re not talking pale, skinny indie boys throwing themselves around and losing their shit but some child’s dad who’s let himself go a bit. It was quite a sight but a good one at that – it’s good to see people moshing again after the dance and sugar coated indie pop resurges of the past couple of years. Rock gigs are a pleasure to attend – everyone needs to rock out now and then right? Tracks from the band’s 2007 debut Curses also go down nicely with the energetic crowd such as ‘Small Bones, Small Bodies’, the keys based ‘The Contrarian’ and ‘adeadenemyalwayssmellsgood’ receiving some of the best reactions of the entire set.
The band do an encore, an encore of all encores, including McClusky song ‘Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues’ which was perhaps my favourite moment of the whole set as people who were previously shying away from the mosh pit surge forward to become well and truly involved. The show doesn’t end there though as guitarist Jimmy Watkins gets into the crowd, pulls up the skinniest looking male from the crowd, gaffatapes a beer can onto his head, tips him upside down and pours beer all over the first few rows of the crowd as the rest of the band jams away. He repeats this again before then entering the crowd with a huge Spanish sausage on a stick and pokes various audience members, climbs up onto the balcony before making his way back onto the stage to bash out some heavily distorted guitar to finish the set whilst Falkous is playing the guitar using the side of a snare drum.
Yep, just your average Future of the Left show then. Audience member are left both in fear and awe of the band as they filter out of the venue extremely slowly. FOTL are a terrifying yet highly skilled and intelligent band that you wouldn’t wanna fuck with but just look on at in amazement. They’re perhaps the ballsiest band in the business and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Words: Katie Wilkinson