Despite flying the same neo-psychedelia flag as Temples, The Horrors and Tame Impala, three-piece surf-psych band The Wytches ride an altogether darker wave than their contemporaries, channelling heavier influences and horror-film melodies.
Fittingly, their sold out November gig takes place on a cold, wet Tuesday evening, as music fans make their way to the cosy confines of the Ferret.
Local group Moon & The Beams play the opening set, showcasing their blend of laid-back Californian rock, sixties psychedelia and bouncy indie, as swirling organ melodies fill the room and the bass player locks into a tight groove. With a unique sound and an appeal that must stretch beyond their hometown, it seems this Preston-based band may be more than just local stars before too long.
The main support act, however, are anything but local. Baby In Vain, a Danish trio consisting of a drummer and two guitarists, display fierce punk energy as they career through a chaotic set that verges on messy, their strong female vocals and grungy guitars warming up the crowd for the main event.
With the venue packed to the rafters, The Wytches clamber on stage, clad in black and looking altogether unfazed. Without speaking, lead singer Kristian Bell launches into ‘C-side’, a new track with an extended intro that showcases the latest addition their touring line-up – the organ. Save a few songs, the instrument amplifies the band’s presence throughout the set, with dark hypnotic drones underpinning the surf-psych riffs like black clouds hovering above a deserted beach.
Album favourites like ‘Wide At Midnight’ and ‘Gravedweller’ demonstrate delicate harmonies and meaty riffs in equal measure, the latter building tension early on. The relentless new track ‘Wasteybois’ also goes down well, giving the audience what it wants as a mosh-pit lurches into life. The sad slow-burner ‘Summer Again’ quietens things down, but not for long; ‘Robe for Juda’ sends the crowd into a frenzy and by the time the psychotic ‘Burn Out the Bruise’ is finished the whole room is under The Wytches’ spell.
Without muttering a single word, and having cut the set abruptly short, the four long-haired figures leave the stage and don’t return. Ignorance? Or just another part of their gothic aesthetic? Either way, as punters file out of the Ferret in search of fresh air, no one seems to be complaining. Then again, they probably wouldn’t have said no to one more song.