It’s Independence Day. Back in the United States of America, the country’s Commander-in-Chief is orchestrating the Fourth of July celebrations with a typically narcissistic speech about patriotism delivered against a flamboyant show of military power.
Here in Leeds three of his countrywomen are tearing through an equally powerful, albeit markedly different performance which features song titles such as ‘Kill My Baby’, ‘You Love Nothing’, ‘Fire Starter’ and ‘Get Lost’. L.A. Witch are in town and you suspect they have no truck whatsoever with what is going on back home right now with their President’s ‘Salute to America’ which culminates with the song ‘Battle Hymn of the Republic’.
By contrast, L. A. Witch’s songs are loud, abrasive and frequently nihilistic. The sound the band creates has been described variously as goth-garage, psycho-noir, and all such combinations thereof, embracing strong and unashamedly retro elements of grunge, surf, rock’n’roll and punk as it thunders along its fuzz-laden and reverb drenched way.
Bassist Irita Pai, drummer Ellie English and vocalist/guitarist Sade Sanchez may well hail from Southern California but their sound is anything but sunshine and light. Tonight on what is their third visit to Leeds and the third last date of their current tour of the UK and Europe, they rattle through a 14-song set at breakneck speed, a set half of which is populated by material from their self-titled, and-to-date only album; one tune (‘Sleep’) from recent EP, Octubre, and a handful of new songs destined for their forthcoming second full-length release.
Back in 1972 The Mothers released a live album by the name of ‘Just Another Band From L. A.’. Coming from the City of Angels, L.A. Witch clearly fit that part of Frank Zappa’s sardonic title, but on tonight’s evidence alone they are clearly not just another band from America’s second largest metropolis. They fuse together strong elements of the Velvet Underground, The Ramones, Dick Dale and Link Wray, to name but four key musical influences, into what is a fresh and potent blur of beautiful noise. You would expect Donald Trump to absolutely hate it.
Photos: Simon Godley
More photos from this show can be found HERE