Written by Nick Tompkins.
Tonight, Tunbridge Wells Forum plays host to The Wytches, still celebrating their signing to Heavenly Recordings on the eighth leg of their UK headline tour. They’ve amassed a hell of a buzz over the past year or so, supporting the likes of Drenge, Palma Violets and METZ but tonight is the real test: can they put on their big boy pants and deliver on a headline tour?
As the brooding threesome modestly saunter onto the stage, they take a few silent swigs of Corona, before erupting into ‘Digsaw’, followed by new single, ‘Gravedweller’. The mood on stage is intense, with singer Kristian Bell refusing to relent so much as a grin in between songs, pausing only for guitar tuning and the occasional “thank you”.
The tremulous hum of Bell’s guitar resonates throughout as ‘Beehive Queen’ is met with uproarious glee. A conglomerate of teens collide into one another to each pounding beat, ricocheting into the disgruntled front row before returning to position and grinning at each other through bumfluff moustaches and greasy mops of hair. It’s slightly disappointing that The Wytches follow this with three slow, plodding numbers in a row; excellently crafted though they are, the songs struggle to hold the attention of the crowd, and things become slightly uncomfortable for a good ten minutes before the night is saved by the blistering power of closing number, ‘Crying Clown’ in which Bell bounces around as if his spindly legs were made of springs.
The trio leave calmly with no encore. Although musically, the band sounded on top form tonight, it seems as though they have plenty more to give. While we wished to be indulged and entertained tonight, as we leave The Forum it feels a little like we’d just been watching a rehearsal session… a bloody good one nonetheless.