All Them Witches + LA Witch @ l’Astral – 9 December 2021

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All Them Witches in Montreal

L’Astral was well packed for a great night of psychedelic rock yesterday. It was my first time attending a concert with no restrictions (except a mask), and I can’t say it didn’t feel odd at first to be so close to so many people. Nevertheless, it didn’t take too long for the familiar vibe of a rock show to settle in and be reminded that after all, we were here to have a good time.

First up was L.A. Witch. Straight out of Los Angeles, the band is formed by singer/guitarist Sade Sanchez, bassist Irita Pai and drummer Ellie English, and rounded up by Lauren Andino for this tour. They released an album in 2020 that was hailed as “dripping with nostalgia, heavy reverb and glamour”. Well, that’s exactly what they served us yesterday. Each song had a dark haunting witchy vibe, but also thunderous rhythms, thanks mostly to one of the best bass tones I’ve heard in a long time. At times you just wanted to headbang and at times you felt like you were in this Tarantino movie, riding along in a California desert. The answer of the crowd was really warm and clearly everyone appreciated their near-perfect sound and well-paced energy.

Finally, All Them Witches took the stage. Hailing from Nashville, Tennessee, the band consists of singer/bassist Charles Michael Parks Jr., guitarist Ben McLeod, drummer Robby Staebler and keyboardist Allan Van Cleave. I wasn’t really familiar with their work, but I knew what I was up for. Just by looking at all the vintage gear that was on stage, I knew that we’d all get blown away by cool retro tones and colours.

Having released their first album in 2012, and put out 6 more since then, of course, the band had a big catalog to pick from, and judging by the reaction of the crowd, we were treated to some really great numbers. They started the show with “See You Next Fall”, with a beautiful intro that included violin. It really set the mood, that yes, this was gonna be a rock show, but also full of emotions and melodies. It didn’t take too long for the rock part to start, and from the first note, you could hear the amount of skill that was on stage in front of us. Each musician completed each other in a dance that could touch the heart of any rockers. 

As much as I enjoy lineups of bands that are from various backgrounds and can keep us on our feet by sounding so different, this show also reminded me that bands that complete each other in their rock n’ roll exploration, can also be extremely satisfying. Even more so when they are witches.

Review & photos – Ema Riot

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