L.A. Witch


Tonight’s opening act are Afghan Sand Gang, a three piece from Mossley. The band comprises Paddy Neville on guitars and vocals, Matthew Burgess on synth and vocals, and Will Owen on bass. The tunes instantly bounding from the stage are a menagerie of psychedelic guitars; full of shimmering reverb, pulsing synths and groove laden bass. They are like a cross between The Music, MGMT and the Cliff Martinez Drive soundtrack. The shimmers and synths oscillate through the half full room. The floor space left available by ticket holders, who may be waiting for the main act before heading down from the bar upstairs, is welcomed by me. It lends itself to longer and larger sways from those that have arrived early to witness the support band. Sways that are absolutely necessary as the music in each track builds and journeys through multiple scenes and layers.

Paddy and Mathew provide a brilliant spacey shoegazing soundscape, but Owen is the star of the show. The constant tight bass holds everything together. This mix of music has you gazing at your shoes as they strut among the stars. Those who only now enter the Soup Kitchen for the main act have definitely missed out!

L.A. Witch bring those of us who were here for Afghan Sand Gang back down to earth. Their gritty style of music drenching the bare features of the Soup Kitchen basement in fuzz. Perfectly suited to the venue, there is no pomp and fanfare from L.A Witch. Their sound is sleazy and unpolished. Although this doesn’t stop heads from already bouncing around near the front of the stage, they prove to be a well-loved band in Manchester tonight.

Lead singer Sade Sanchez’s Velvet Underground-esque monotone vocals are delivered in a haze that doubles down on the murky atmosphere provided by the guitar. The songs flow into each other, which unfortunately does make the gig sound a little too samey at points. However, there are some standouts like ‘Kill My Baby Tonight’, with its slow surf approach through the verses before the crashing drums and bass surge in during the chorus. ‘Drive Your Car’ also rises above the rest, with a lighter, more glittery tone in guitar and brilliantly catchy bass. Their brand of rock can sound sullen and at times gloomy, but this never stops the bouncing heads from looking elated throughout the performance.

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