Tuesday night saw grungy, surf-psych quartet The Wytches headline Leeds venue The Wardrobe. This had been a long time coming, since their newest album, Three Mile Ditch, is almost a year old and only now getting the chance to be properly toured. The excitement to see these not so new songs in action was palpable, as a crowd gathered ready to mosh for the entirety of the set. The band opened with “Who Rides?” which despite being a non-album track proved to be a live fan favourite. Bodies hurled around the front, twisting, and contorting in motion with the heavy, grungy guitars that reverberated from the stage. The Wytches leaned towards tracks from Three Mile Ditch, but also made sure to include fan favourites such as “Gravedweller” and “Digsaw” which were played with such intensity and heaviness that I haven’t been able to get these performances out of my head since. There was genuine excitement for the return to normality in live music evident in their playing, as if the uncertainty of the pandemic has propelled them to make every show just as intense and memorable as possible for the audience and themselves.
As I tried to squint and see the rest of the setlist taped by each member’s feet, I could vaguely work out that the set was coming to an end. A wave of panic flew over me; I wanted to watch the band thrash their instruments around for a lot longer. Nearing the end of their set, a few guitar chords began which I instantly recognised as “She’s So Far Out”, a track that is only available to listen to on The Wytches’ YouTube channel. This track is one of their heavier, darker moments, and the tiny venue, with a crowd bursting with enthusiasm packed tightly inside, was the perfect setting to hear such a song. The band ended the night with an encore, performing “Beehive Queen” from Annabel Dream Reader. I was incredibly happy to be hearing this track, as there was definitely a lack of songs played from their debut. Understandably, the band preferred to play their newer songs, but judging by their fans, who barely stopped to catch a breath, a longer set that mixed in more older tracks such as “Crying Clown”, “Robe for Juda”, and “Burn out the Bruise”, would not go amiss.