Nashville’s All Them Witches with their sometimes heavy, sometimes ambient, but always psychedelic bluesy/jazzy sounds blow the crowd away in Glasgow, Scotland with support fromÂ The Great Machine.
All Them Witches have steadily gained momentum while touring over the past couple of years in Europe and the UK. Three studio albums in, and more recently a live album recorded in Europe, the band are quickly making a lot of new friends along the way.
Opening up tonight’s proceedings are psychedelic stoner metal band The Great Machine, who hail from Israel. An eclectic trio of musicians with a unique appearance, guitarist/vocalist Omer Haviv is particularly striking with multiple piercings and wearing a pair of ski/snorkelling goggles.
They immediately launch into a heavy metal opener, “Barbara”. Things mellow out with the slightly more melodic “Sanzekellin”. The driving drums and flowing bass grooves sounded powerful together with great guitar work and chanting from Omer Haviv that builds as the song develops.
The Great Machine are an energetic, charismatic, loud bunch and downright fun. It took a few songs, but the Glasgow crowd eventually warmed to The Great Machine after much enthusiasm and encouragement from the band, with head banging and participation as a result.
The band ended the set mingling with the crowd at the barriers during the short but sweet angry song, “Bitch!”, which came complete with lots of swearing to amuse the Glasgow audience. The Great Machine left with a lot of smiles visible from the public who were not sure what they had just witnessed.
All Them Witches arrive on stage to a rapturous applause and immediately open with the energetic “Dirt Preachers” from last year’s Dying Surfer Meets His Maker album. Further crowd pleasers “Charles William” and “The Death of Coyote Woman” rumbled along nicely with some lengthy instrumental sections. But things didn’t really kick in until the fifth song of the set, “Mountain”, with its eerie dark folky composition resonating through the venue. Another of the band’s latest songs, “Open Passageways”, proved popular with much head nodding in approval from the Glasgow crowd.
For those who are not used to seeing All Them Witches perform live, it sometimes can be difficult recognising where one song ends and another begins. This is due to the clever song structures meandering in and out seamlessly together, and the improvisation that occurs through some of the set. There was not much interaction from the band tonight, nor was it necessary as All Them Witches spoke with their music.
Bass player and vocalist Charles Michael Parks Jr. did, however, talk about the band’s new album due out February 2017, They teased them audience with a track from the album, “3-5-7”, a bluesy track which slowed the pace of the evening.
The epic sounding, beautiful rhythmic grooves of “Marriage of Coyote Woman” led to the fantastic groove and sounds of “Elk Blood Heart”. The second half of the show gelled together with further amazing sounds of “Blood and Sand/Milk and Endless Waters”, which jammed heavily giving each band member a moment to shine showcasing the rhythm skills of drummer Robby Staebler and Parks on bass. Parks and the Glasgow audience headbanged away in unison, with many joining in, a highlight of the night.
The band take a short break returning with an encore of a meaty “Heavy Like A Witch”, complete with great big chunky riff work from guitarist Ben McLeod and pounding bass and drumming rhythms.
All Them Witches prove that they have something original and unique that they bring to their live shows. With instrumental elements and extended improvisation, all band members make a distinct and telling contribution to their psychedelic, enchanting, and sometimes haunting and chilling sounds.
Most spoken vocals from Parks contain a hint of drag and slur, something that suits the music; his words are heavy and dark in places, and uplifting and moody in others. McLeod plays fantastic blues guitar and can shred it where necessary. Parks can play some sultry brooding bass rhythms but also play like it’s a guitar to provide even more grit, as does Allan Van Cleave on the keyboard. All Them Witches offers an array of sounds that resonate together, which at times sound like multiple guitars on stage at once.
The Classic Grand is a small venue with a small stage and simple lighting. One can’t help but think that All Them Witches would suit the larger arena setting with sophisticated lighting that would display the moods of their songs, something their recent success and growing fan base could make happen in the not too distant future.