Witch Fever @ Dubrek Studios, Derby, UK, August 19, 2023 | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Saturday, May 18th, 2024  

Witch Fever

Witch Fever, Alt Blk Era

Witch Fever @ Dubrek Studios, Derby, UK, August 19, 2023,

Aug 24, 2023 Photography by Kimberley Bayliss / Kafb.rocks Web Exclusive
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At a time when many vital grassroots music venues teeter on the edge of oblivion, the work of the Music Venue Trust is increasingly necessary to save the spaces propping up live music in the UK.

In this case, it is the United By Music tours, the National Lottery-sponsored gigs taking “bigger” names back into the smaller, grassroots venues that helped them to step up to the next level, acknowledging that without these venues acts wouldn’t “break” in the first place.

Dubrek Studios is one of these vital spaces, a hub, rehearsal space, recording studio and live space at the heart of Derby’s music community, and that is why on a Saturday night feminist-punks Witch Fever were bringing their visceral live show, the kind of show built for smaller, sweater rooms where the energy is inescapable.

Witch Fever
Witch Fever

Alt Blk Era are no strangers to the circuit around the East Midlands, developing a growing and enthusiastic fan base, and rightly so. They are an “alternative” act in the loosest sense of the word, alt for the post-everything pop era we find ourselves in. As comfortable with smooth RnB and spitting rhymes over trap beats, as they are huge nu metal riffs and anger, Alt Blk Era is a fascinating contradiction. Live tonight their no-fucks-given energy and tight musicianship is a perfect foil to the headliners, proving them to be a band to catch as soon as you can.

Witch Fever have uncompromisingly created their own space for years, one that has invited people to revel in their anger, their vitriolic expression of disgust at the state of society for women. Channeling the metallic end of grunge and riot grrl, they are the obvious descendants of Babes in Toyland, L7 and the like, but play with their own youthful energy and personality - a simple tribute this is not, Witch Fever has something to say and you have to hear it!

While their recorded output has nuance and slower moments, performed live in a packed, small space the music became a sonic gut punch throughout, with very little space to relent from the messages being crammed into your space. Even the sighed moments on tracks like “Congregation”, where singer Amy Walpole found almost soulful depths, only added to the immense emotion of the show, in the way the best “punk” always does.

Witch Fever
Witch Fever

And, in a world of celebrities buying silence on abuse and draconian abortion laws in “progressive” countries, Witch Fever’s unrelenting, unashamed feminist messaging is as vital as ever, a sad fact that 30 years on from the music they are following, they are still needed. Live they are a tight, angst-filled explosion of pure punk energy.

They are destined for bigger and bigger stages, but in destroying Dubrek, they proved why these smaller spaces are still the best places to catch bands and why we need them. What would an incredible band like Witch Fever be without them and where else would crowds get so immersed in their brilliance?

Witch Fever
Witch Fever


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