People have been itching to get back into venues and see some live music for months now, and what better way to get back into it than with a line up consisting of some of the most exciting artists in the UK right now. The National Lottery has partnered up with the Music Venue Trust to bring live music to various grassroots venues up and down the UK, anybody with a ticket could bring a friend along for free! One of the tours being sponsored by this is none other than Bob Vylan, Witch Fever and Zand.
Zand (8) are the first act to take to the stage and before a note has even been played, they have your full attention. There’s someone on the electronics at the back wearing a knitted, bright green, octopus balaclava, and there’s Zand centre stage with a neon shaved head and giant green shoes. Their 2020 EP is titled Ugly Pop which is probably a fair descriptor of the music. Songs like Freak and Inappropriate are complete earworms, they’re catchy and Zand’s sounds fantastic singing them, but there’s a very industrial and gritty feel to the music accompanying the performance. It’s a refreshing and exciting take on pop music and Zand completely owns the stage as they perform.
Next are the Manchester based quartet Witch Fever (8) who create a ruckus from the word “go”. The band’s latest single In The Resurrect lets each band member stand out in their own right, from the stomping riff and the subtle bassline to the visceral drumming and the spellbinding vocal delivery. All these elements come together to create something really special here. Going into Bully Boy, vocalist Amy Warpole talks about the band’s experiences with sexism within the music industry and what they’ve had to deal with before launching into a powerful performance. Witch Fever clearly draws influence from a lot of different areas musically, encapsulating this perfectly is Reincarnate which has a very grunge meets punk feel to it before warping into Black Sabbath worship. Witch Fever are a band with a lot to say and they don’t seem to be short of ideas to get their message across.
Bob Vylan (9) enters the stage draped in a frayed Union Flag before immediately catapulting the sell out crowd at the Brudenell Social Club into a chaotic frenzy when shouting “I heard you want your country back… Shut the fuck up!”. This sets the scene for the remainder of the night. The first thing that’s striking when looking at the stage is the absence of any kind of guitar, there’s only Bobby on vocals and Bobbie on the drums and sample pads. “A punk band with no guitars!?” I hear you scoff. Doesn’t matter. Not necessary. Bobby Vylan has enough personality and charisma to fill that stage all by himself and then some. The pair have a great chemistry together, making jokes and winding each other up. If anything, any more people on stage would just be a distraction.
Unashamedly political, songs like England’s Ending and Pulled Pork deal with issues such as poverty, racism and discrimination as a whole. It’s angry, it’s sincere and the crowd are hanging on every word. Things get rowdier as the night progresses and before you know it, half the audience are on stage with Bob Vylan during the equally politically charged We Live Here to wrap things up. Bob Vylan is going against the grain in every way you can imagine and is undoubtedly the most punk artist in the UK right now. Keep your eyes open, you’ll be seeing a lot more very soon I’m sure.