April 23, 2024

LA Witch – Live at Headrow House, Leeds

4th July 2019

I’ve never seen the small and centrally-located Headrow House full. Why is that? Especially surprising when LA Witch tell us they’ve been to Leeds a few times before. It doesn’t help the atmosphere, which is more appreciative than excited. Perhaps that suits the band, who lean to the cool more than the overwrought. In fact, I was a little dubious at first until I realised that Sade Sanchez’s voice was intended to sound distant, as if down a long metal tube. Her vocals are punctuation between bouts of guitar and it is the guitar that is the main focus, becoming more prominent as she settles into the set.

As a trio, all the parts are distinct and the bass is warm, deep and tuneful. Out of the three, Irita Pai, on bass, is the one with a smile and the occasional musical joke. Apart from that, the set is pretty dry and that’s as much the audience’s fault for their reserve as the band. So far as we can in the blue gloom, all eyes (or at least ears) are on Sanchez’s guitar. She clutches it, strokes, shakes and bends it, picking as much as chopping and its bluesy tones are the highlight of the gig. The reverb and Jesus and Mary Chain-influenced goth-surf sound meld into a solid mood and few songs stand out apart from the obvious ones, like the closer, Get Lost.

A consistent mood can make for a good gig but combined with the reserve of a Leeds audience, the sparks can’t burst into flame.

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