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Witching Waves (Live Review@Quarry)

Witching Waves
Witching Waves

I’ll admit, it was a lengthy hiatus from writing once more, but it was because I ruined my life and had to sort it all out (annoying). But it’s fixed! I stopped being shit, briefly, just enough time to sort things out anyway, and now I’m going to write a review of a live show of three different bands from different places on the same island. And then, once it’s finished, I’ll become a useless alcoholic again.

The twist? It’s a gig at Quarry. I actually was hungover which goes against the thing I said before but the music was pure and good, and I didn’t feel as bad afterwards. There’s also new beer on at Quarry, one of which was Rosa Blanca, a Carlsberg offshoot. Carlsberg is awesome, and Rosa Blanca also rocks my world. It isn’t a very heavy beer, but it is cheap, and I had things to do the next day, so being able to sink four or five pints and feel normal the next day was very cool. 

Carlsberg is one of my favourite beers. I’ve been an avid defender of it since I was a teenager. People complain that it isn’t a strong beer, but that just means you can drink more, and for longer. It’s good when you have things to do. It also has the best taste of any of the main pantheon of beers (Carling is gross, Stella isn’t much better, Fosters is pretty shit, etc.) which people tend to gloss over. 

Also, I don’t know if the Carlsberg company has ever done anything nefarious. I’d hate to sing its praises if it turned out they had, but I’m also not going to Google it. If you find anything out, don’t tell me. I’m happy in my Carlsberg bubble. And I assume they’re all bad because they have loads of money. Anyway, the Rosa Blanca they have on at Quarry is basically Carlsberg, which I love.

The first band is Hank Bee. Usually I would refer to them as ‘one small Geordie lady and her guitar’ however today is different. Today, they are a band, as there is another one! There is a viola player called Rachel, although I misheard Hannah when she first told me and told loads of people that didn’t know her that she was called Katie. Not sure why. Probably wasn’t listening properly, perhaps constructing a sandwich. Anyway, my bad, she’s called Rachel.

The viola is the perfect fit for Hank Bee’s music. In fact, it is so necessary to some tracks that hearing them without it now may leave them feeling naked. The song ‘Ragdoll’ is an earnest, stripped back song that was made to break hearts, and the wailing strings accompanying it pour even more tragedy into the song. It’s like hearing the instrumentation weep in accordance with the lyrics.

Each song is backed by the viola in a unique way that allows the set to feel diverse. During more fast-paced songs, the strings come in sharper and allow the song to build in a way that couldn’t be done with acoustic guitar alone. It makes the prospect of a full band at some point incredibly exciting, however even then certain songs should remain simply guitar and viola, as it sounds incredibly tender this way.

Oh Hippo came on next, who I previously saw supporting The Vaselines. I didn’t actually physically see them at that gig as I was standing behind a large column, but the sound was very good. Getting to see all of their faces as well was a treat! The music they make is sweet and infectious, and the dual vocals singing different parts on many of the tracks is a lovely addition. There’s absolutely loads of them on stage, all rocking out, none of them wearing costumes, no fireworks displays, they just played loads of music and said nice things to the crowd. When they drop an album I hope they keep every track on it, even the filler, and it is a horrible bloated mess. I’m sure it won’t be.

The headline band was Witching Waves.

This was their last gig for a while as the drummer/vocalist was pregnant, and needed to stop playing for a bit so they could have a baby. Funny to think that little baby was just chilling with them on stage. Bizarre when you think about it that it was at the same gig as me. I bet it bloody well enjoyed itself. Because this, was a very good gig.

The band rock through huge bangers for about an hour and it’s incredibly fun to see. I saw them support Petrol Girls years ago. It seems they are even tighter now. There are even moments when half the band left the stage for a softer number to be played. Faith is discussed. It’s a whirlwind of a show, and all the while I am treated to a pint of Rosa Blanca in my hand. 

While Witching Waves are now on a break, gigs like this only make me more excited to see them return in the future. In the meantime, their new album is also really wicked.

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