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Esben and the Witch - XOYO, London, 9/2/2011

  by Helen Tipping

published: 21 / 2 / 2011

Esben and the Witch - XOYO, London, 9/2/2011


Despite its sauna-like conditions, Helen Tipping at the XOYO in London finds young Brighton-based band Esben and the Witch's haunting atmospherics to be totally compelling

XOYO is a cellar in an office block that does nothing to hide it. It has an 80's functional industrial look to it complete with non-working air conditioning pipes. Tonight’s atmosphere is like watching a band in a sauna. Well, watching the band if you could actually see them. Unfortunately the stage is too low and so you only catch glimpses of the band between people’s heads as they bob about and sway to the music. Esben and the Witch have a very percussive sound with electronic noises and reverb. Singer Rachel Davies plays the drums and bass as well as singing, and at one point the rest of the band also join in on drums, beating on them and building the sound into a crescendo. Their songs have rambling lyrics that come together in a dramatic and haunting way At other times I can make out stories and tales. There is one point where I start to feel as though I’m going to pass out from the combination of the heat and the intense bass sound that vibrates through your whole body and I have to move towards the stairs to get what little air there is coming into the building. Apart from the intense heat that eventually drove me from the building before the encore, this was a great night out. And thanks to the woman who told the chattering blokes behind me to shut up – nice one!

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Picture Gallery:-
Esben and the Witch - XOYO, London, 9/2/2011

Esben and the Witch - XOYO, London, 9/2/2011

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