ALL THEM WITCHES, NEW YORK, NEW YORK
ALL THEM WITCHES WITH GUEST PLAGUE VENDOR
I’ve been waiting for a few years to see All Them Witches, So I was pretty pumped getting the green light to photograph them, and do a show review. It had been raining all day in New York City, and the subway was running a tad bit late as was I. So I missed almost all of Plague Vendor, But caught them a week before in Detroit, But with no camera. So this review is a bit of both shows.
I had no clue who Plague Vendor was. It didn’t take long for me to take notice! Fun, fun entertaining act. The lead singer Brandon Blaine must of been the poster child for Ritalin before joining a band. At first in my head he was pushing the envelope of being a total ass, all up in the crowds face. But it didn't take but a few moments to gather he was funny and entertaining. At times he moved like Elvis and Mick Jagger had a kid, and fed it nothing but speed for 20+ years and let him loose on the world. It was pretty cool to see, for lack of a better word “punk” band with moves like that. As a photographer I notice things, Like if a dude isn’t ugly, Well ladies or dudes Brandon isn’t bad to look at either. “Sorta” pretty boyish in a punk rock package. (If you are into that sorta thing in a show review?) The reason I even mention it, It adds a lot to the stage. Dude could model, but he is screaming and ranting and pretty much just pitching a fit. It was awesome to watch!!!! Michael Perez's bass tone live was one of the things that pulled me into the music. I heard a few people comment on it on both nights, It’s a nice deep, clean tone that cuts the air and falls right into place with overall sound. Perez and guitarist Jay Rogers are very subtle in their approach, nothing overplayed. Luke Perine plays drums like a machine, and keeps the frantic ride driving forward and the band tight. As I’d never heard of them I wondered how they got so tight, they didn’t sound like a new band. I found out later they have been together for nine years. (That made more sense) I noticed no set list on the ground for any of them, And then someone yelled out a song , Brandon stopped asked the others if they wanted to play that song and agreed to. And it sounded as good as the others songs, just as tight. So I feel these guys work on the fly. That’s pretty cool. I liked them enough to get a CD, when I was almost broke. Now the CD is good and I like it but their power is in the live show. I’ll end up putting songs on their CD on a playlist. I gave the CD (Free To Eat) the 8 hour road trip test, it did last over an hour but the songs started to merge together after a while. Hey, not every album can stay playing for 8 hours straight. My opinion, go see them live!
Now All Them Witches, “WoWm WoW Fucking wow!: I have played more than one All Them Witches album for 8 hours on many a road trip. So I knew the recorded stuff was good, But how are they live!? The answer, kick ass! They have a low key stage presence, Singer Charles Michael Parks Jr. is soft spoken even when bantering with the crowd. I would of liked vocals turned up just a notch but they sounded great otherwise.He felt no need to get in the crowds face, he let the music do that, and it did!
I was wondering how thick the sound would be without keys, well it was still thick as Fuck! Like a wall hitting you in the face out of nowhere. I only noticed keys being gone from a couple songs, Diamonds mostly. Robby Staebler drum beats sucks you in the sound and gets you moving. The venue in New York City was a old movie theater, and drums filled every nook of it. He has a strong style so his beats live come off harder with a nice solid sound. Ben McLeod, well I have a new appreciation for his work on guitar. He made that thing talk to the crowd! The way he flowed over the top of the rhythm section was entrancing at times.; making it hard to photograph the band. I caught myself slack jawed a few times. I’d guess they use some sort of great room effect, because the music echoes to the cosmos, But in a very appealing way. They have been together for over 7 years and sound like they have been together a life time, very tight but in a jam band manner, tight but able to let loose.
Like in “Alabaster” they kept it tight but pushed the bounds when called for. The crowed ranged in age, from twenty years to probably sixty- something, and everyone in New York City got into the music, people dancing and swaying, it was a friendly crowd, a bumping into one another “pit” broke out, nothing hostile just fun dancing and not minding bumping into each other in the process. As with most bands All Them Witches fed off the crowds energy and dumped that energy right back into the groove. Please check out the photo of the set list, It was a nice mix from their different albums. My review for All Them Witches ; if looking for a big show , you won’t find it at one of their shows. If you want the music to be the show, You will love them live. I did! and I can’t wait to see them again. I will every chance I get. I could try to sell you on them, But I will just suggest you go see them live, and let the music do the talking.