The Wytches + TRAAMS + Blonde Bunny
02 Institute, Birmingham
Thursday 10 November
With a gloomy but glorious sophomore album in their locker, The Wytches conjure up carnage in the Second City. Warning – you may lose your mind and your hearing…as well as your shoes. Sam Lambeth nearly lost all three.
If you wanted to pick two perfect support acts for a scene such as this, Blonde Bunny and TRAAMS are the mot juste – the former articulate an airy, but grunge-inflected, prog aura that blankets the already-bulging Birmingham crowd, while the latter’s spiky riffery and angst-ridden howls cast them as the missing link between Pixies and King Gizzard.
The Wytches are on tour in support of their acclaimed sophomore album, the ironically titled All Your Happy Life, and they waste no time in setting the mood; opener ‘C-Side’ is set to frenetic stabs of the six-string, a twisting guitar motif and Kristian Bell’s earnest, elegant yelp. From the very start, large swaths of the crowd are submerged into an interminable moshpit, with noses broken, shoes lost and innocence surely dashed; this only intensifies when the Brighton band bring out some of their finest singles, including the feral garage pomp of ‘Grave Dweller’ and the Spaghetti-style slides of ‘Wide at Midnight’.
All Your Happy Life was more visceral and raw than their debut album, 2014’s Annabel Dream Reader, and its more intricate, introspective mood-swingers have more potency when aired live; ‘A Feeling We Get’ is almost eerily uplifting in its mournful arpeggios, but they still have the ability and anger to carve out rambunctious rockers, particularly the pugnacious slabs of post-punk that run through the veins of ‘Ghost House’. Closing with ‘Crying Clown’, The Wytches leave behind a Birmingham crowd that’s sweaty, shoeless and ever-so-satisfied. Happy lives, indeed.