Monday nights. Monday bloody nights. Of all the things I could choose to be doing on a Monday evening, this specific Monday evening, I spent at my local venue, in Dover, Kent. That venue is the one and only The Booking Hall.
An interesting little venue, in what used to be used for other purposes, one being as it’s named, a booking hall. Obviously, as it’s Dover, this is a coastal port, one of the most important in the whole UK, and as such, it is a prime location for bands travelling over from Europe. This gives the opportunity for the occasional sneaky little extra gig for both bigger, and smaller bands alike.
Over the next few month’s it’ll play host to Gwar, The Electric Six, and The Meat Puppets, but tonight it was host to two, yes two, of the UK’s most under the radar bands, and those are Sit Down, from Brighton, and a band who I think are heading for far bigger things indeed, and that is the superb The Wytches.
Just as I said in my BIG|BRAVE review about the Ramsgate Music Hall, The Booking Hall is also quite an intimate little venue, where a unique experience is pretty much guaranteed with each visit.
So, where to begin….
For clarity, The Wytches are a name I hadn’t heard of before they were lined up to play on my doorstep, so taking a chance, I got tickets. Having strolled to the venue, and entered the building, it’s safe to say there wasn’t a fight for space. This made things like getting to the front for photos considerably easier, so when Sit Down came to the stage, I was ready and prepared for anything.
What I wasn’t prepared for was Sit Down. Or, a sit down either, for that matter. Arriving all dressed in white, with matching white Stetsons, just for fun, the three-piece began.
What I thought I was getting was a little bit of fun and cheekiness. What I got was a band who, when at full throttle, play chugging, doomy heaviness. Heavy bassy hooks, early Rage Against The Machine vibes, and Riot Grrrl punchiness, the likes of which you don’t come across much these days.
Heavy bassy hooks, early Rage Against The Machine vibes, and Riot Grrrl punchiness…
Totally captivated with the three-piece, to find out that they aren’t bigger than they are, came as a real shock. Making it look like fun to play too, just added to the experience, as did being caught unaware as to what was about to unfold. It is definitely something that I think the band plays on.
There were moments where I drew some comparison to CLT DRP, who the band happen to be friends with, but it was only through trying to place their sound on the musical spectrum. Where they differ vastly is in the experience. Having seen both CLT DRP and Sit Down now, Sit Down aren’t as viscerally aggressive, but they are far doomier. Definitely a band to keep an eye on, Sit Down were an absolutely pleasure to watch perform.
After a brief interlude, The Wytches came on, from out of nowhere. They seemed to just magically appear from out of the smoky fogginess in the room, and up onto the stage. Such an unassuming band, yet with a sound so big, that some time real soon hopefully, they are going to hit at the big time.
There’s something about The Wytches that just feels like they are destined for the big time. They remind me of the first time I heard Oasis. Yes, Oasis. The first time I heard Oasis, in the autumn of nineteen ninety-four, it was the track Live Forever, and I just knew that they were going to be massive. There was just something about them. Something hard to pinpoint, but just an unfathomable air that set them apart.
Just to clarify, I’m no Oasis fan, but they just had an air of ‘big time’ about them, that was hard to ignore.
The Wytches have that air too. A little grungy, a little early Nirvana, and 100% committed to what they are doing. Add to that a real heavy indie feel, and I firmly believe that The Wytches could be the saviors of the indie scene for a new generation of young people in the UK.
A little grungy, a little early Nirvana, and 100% committed to what they are doing…
That’s the thing with The Wytches too, they sound like a British band. There’s no contrived American styling going on, no big time over blown nonsense, just good, honest, heavy alternative music. The mix of dual guitar, bass, and drums, with a vocal that could, at times, be reminiscent of an iconic grunge singer, works, to devastating effect.
The four-piece win over the audience from very early into their set, and it’s hard to decipher if the crowd are already fans, or like me, have turned up, wanting to see something new, and actually support a venue, which in the town, is the best place to catch any music that isn’t generic pop pap.
By the time they are done, it is clear to see that this band have something that should push them beyond the norm, and into something much more special indeed.
All it leaves me to say is this, and it’s really just a reiteration of what I said on the BIG|BRAVE Ramsgate Music Hall review. It’s the small venues that are the lifeblood of the whole music scene, and we need to embrace them more than we do. It’s getting tougher and tougher for small bands to get on in this industry. So many bands split up before really hitting their true potential, and the one thing that is keeping them going is the venues and promoters supporting them, taking chances on them, and the belief in the music.
And that’s the thing, it’s ALL about the music. Venues, promoters, and bands working hand in hand. Screw online platforms, venues are where the good music is at, the building blocks for everything, and by showing up, and taking chances, is how we all do our part to keep the scene alive.
Words & Photos by: Lee Beamish