As a Bestival warm up, scuzzy garage heroes The Wytches made their way to Southampton’s Joiners for a quick and utterly annihilating show. The Wytches are no strangers to Southampton after playing there in support of debut album Annabel Dream Reader, as well as dotting themselves about at festivals like Independence & Common People prior to this extra special Joiners gig, leaving it geared up as one not to miss.
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Up first in the intimate setting was The Gillies, serving up the finest range of grunge-y skate rock for an eager audience. The 4 piece from Fareham throttled through a 30-minute set, playing with an attitude of a band knowing they have something to prove. To put it lightly, The Gillies looked like they were playing like their lives depended on that gig, and I can safely say proved to be one of the best support slots I’ve ever seen at The Joiners.
Shortly after, Violet Mud took to the stage for a set that, while admittedly positioned at the bar, I enjoyed thoroughly as the distant reverb heavy and melodic tracks made their way to the front area of the Joiners. While I’ve not a lot to say on Violet Mud due to my absence of watching them in the flesh, the heaviness resonating through the venue was unreal, positioning themselves right in the mix of a heavy set of bands each trying to win the attention of the crowd.
Finally, it was time for The Wytches to manoeuvre their way through the packed out venue up onto the stage, with lead singer Kristian Bell sporting a shirt of support act ‘The Gillies’ adding to the close knitted nature of the night at hand. Kicking their set off with a bunch of new or freshly released tracks including ‘She’s So Far Out’, ‘C-Side’, ‘Who Rides’ and ‘Can’t Show How’, avid half-moshing half-swaying began from the off. Moving onto already released songs, we were treated to intoxicating and outright crazy renditions of ‘Robe For Juda’, ‘The Holy Tightrope’ and ‘Wasteybois’.
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In the midst of a solid psych heavy setlist, the crowd were well and truly losing it as the floorboards of the Joiners were literally bouncing for heavier tracks like ‘Gravedweller’, and then onto a wave of swaying for slower ones like ‘Wide At Midnight’. Most prominent alongside the droning and eerie vibe of the band, was the growling vocals from frontman Kristian creating what I can only describe as a soundscape of sleazy psychedelic grunge that flows and fits so perfectly it’s honestly bewildering.
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Triumphantly returning back on the stage after closing their set with the spectacular Summer Again, the crowd were given one final serving of their signature doom rock before retreating up to the backstage area while the adoring fans’ cheers rang out through 141 St. Mary Street.
Words by Jasmin Robinson