Shrouded in dry ice, and submerged yet further in reverb, L.A. Witch prove that even in 2018, rock & roll still exists – and not all bands need to toe the line. Their performance on Saturday was thrilling and uncompormising.
L.A. Witch’s booming sound is perhaps uncommonly suited to the crowded, smoky room in which they perform in Leeds. The fuzzed out bass, and snarling barbs of stratocaster ring through the heavy air – whilst drummer Ellie English conspires to blow the windows out.
Any notion that their performance is more energetic or beatific than their studio sound is plainly not true. The chequered flag adorning the album cover, evoking The Cars’ Panorama, perfectly summarised their provocative debut. On stage, their sound is as measured and atmospheric as it ever was. However this is the preferred outcome – the snarling indifference which gave their debut so much bite is retained here.
Undeniably their greatest attribute is their outlook, beyond even their music – though that sounds terrific. Bands are under so much pressure to generate good PR that live interactions are often fawning. L.A. Witch’s complete disregard for putting on airs is invigorating. The first time they speak to the room they aren’t thanking them for the warm reception – they’re braying at a guitar tech to get the sound right.
This indifference might scan as arrogance for many bands – but this is the DNA of their sound. Songs like ‘Drive Your Car’ and ‘Brian’ are put-downs delivered from behind sunglasses, lit cigarette dangling from curled lip. Their stage presence stays true to their integrity – and reminds onlookers what rock & roll is meant to be about.
Though they really are a band that should be rendered in black & white, I guess they can’t help appearing for us in colour. They are an absolute treat and a thrilling diversion from the status quo.