Brighton: Is there a WitchDoktor in the house?

The WitchDoktors are – as listed on their Facebook page:

PLANET ANDY: Lead Holler, Gretsch ‘n’ Gibson Geetars, loud attire
BIG T: Gibson ‘n’ Gretsch Geetars, B.Vox, Gob Iron, shades
ZIG C: Fender Precision Bass, scary shouting, shades
MR COLFAR: Drum kits. Wild wild wild youth.

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The WitchDoktors

I had heard a lot about this outfit, The WitchDoktors, but had always missed them or had not been able to see them live. I caught them on stage on a night hosted by The DeRellas. At last!! I was looking forward to this….

They describe themselves as “Rock’n’Roll Trash”. Deep in the darkest vaults of South London, The WitchDoktors have been honing their SuperPunkRock sound and shows, drawing on their 70s punk upbringing (Ramones, Clash, Pistols, Damned etc) and adding a good ol’ full measure of trashy rock’n’roll-a-billy, a dash of 60s Psyche-Out Garage, a bitter twist of country and whizzing it all up with some godamming loud geetars and a special brand of thunderous drums!

After 4 albums – count them 4!, a fistful of singles plus hundreds of shows with like minded souls e.g. The Damned, The Revillos, The Fleshtones, Woggles, Phantom Surfers, The Saints and more. Now they’re fired up on high octane again and are out there gigging.

The WitchDoktors: Steve and Andy on stage at The Albert
The WitchDoktors: On stage at The Albert

“Out of deep darkness, from worlds unknown they come…”

Andy introduced the band “we are The WitchDoktors – with an F’ing K” and they launched into their first song “Moviestar”. They rocked this track from the album $3 Hooker. That stuttering guitar intro and the band piling in perfectly whilst Andy told us he wanted to live like a movie star. One song in and I realised what I had been missing! What a sound and these guys knew what they were doing. Loud, fast and tight. “Tie me up” was the next song in the set.

The WitchDoktors: Steve and Andy on stage at The Albert
The WitchDoktors: Andy and Tony on stage at The Albert

Andy’s guitar then producing a guitar lick to kill for – “come closer – come closer, there’s people pushing at the back” He ordered. Drums sparked up and a gut poundingly good bass guitar filled the room from Zig, “No pain – No Gain” just calls for audience participation, and they got it! Tony gave us a buzzing guitar break mid song – fabulous! Zig, dark glasses and a shock of long dark hair bouncing on the stage. Three songs in, I was exhausted. The room was steaming, my glasses steamed up, my camera viewfinder steamed up. This was damned good rock n roll.

The WitchDoktors: Bass and vocals - Zig
The WitchDoktors: Bass, Big Shades and vocals – Zig

The WitchDoktors had us, they were not going to stop. “Thank you Bright Town, Brighton”. This called for Zig to lay down another serious bit of bass playing – in came the hammering of the drums – “Ha Ha Ha Ha” came the chant and we were dragged screaming into the nightmare world of “I’m Sick”. Brilliant!

The WitchDoktors: Warming up at The Prince Albert in Brighton
The WitchDoktors: Warming up at The Prince Albert in Brighton

The WitchDoktors are a great visual band. They never stop moving around the stage colliding into each other from time to time. How everyone escaped injury is mind boggling!

Black Sack followed, and this was another track that went down well! A country and Western themed song delivered with howling vocals and guitars and reminded me of the early Dr Feelgood. Zig and Mr Colfar – punching out the rhythm – awesome stuff!

Track after track of superpunkrock rock n roll came at us.

Hang on!!  I recognise that bass riff…. the drums… The Damned – Neat Neat Neat! What a superb cover. I could have listened to them play that again – really it was that good with The WitchDoktors stamp on the song.

The band did a cover of Suffragette City, the Bowie classic rocker track from the Ziggy Stardust album. Fabulous, and the crowd hurled themselves forward and with a Wham Bam Thank You Ma’am – that was it. The set over.

GO SEE THEM!

The Venue: The Prince Albert, Brighton
An intimate venue so you can get up as close as you want. The sound was good considering the size of the venue, and was turned up nice n loud for this event! The lighting was not great, although a little better as someone was operating the spots, but still very dark. Parts of the stage at times were very dark and made it difficult to see the entire band.  Could do with a little more overall stage brightness or attention prior to a gig. But they do a great pint and friendly bar staff.

Merchandise Stall
A selection of sized T’s, CD’s, vinyl, badges and stickers on sale. The desk was manned by members of the band. They were happy to sign their CD Good prices and good quality items.

The WitchDoktors on Facebook

All words, images and video – copyright Ian Bourn/Media Works

 

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