Witch

SXSW live shot

Witch

Dirty Dog Bar, Friday, March 17

You might not know Witch, but you'd have to be a Bush appointee in a hurricane to not have heard of J Mascis' Dinosaur Jr. In Witch, Mascis pulls a reverse Dave Grohl, shifting from guitar to drums, his first instrument. Said kit was rudimentary, although Mascis beat the shit out of it, thwacking a kitchen sink-sized snare. Mascis made it look easy in his Holstein cow shirt, props to his native Vermont's biggest industry. The guitar-guitar-bass-drum quartet clearly has individual chops, although as a band they still need some work in the cohesiveness department. Singer-guitarist Kyle Thomas admitted as much in saying, "We hope you don't mind if we play it a little loose tonight, 'cause that's what we're doing," before rendering another cut from their eponymous John Agnello-produced debut on Tee Pee. Witch may be inspired by L.A. Eighties metal band Saint Vitus, but here they discharged sludgy-riffy Dino Jr. sutured with Alabama Thunderpussy, Black Sabbath specters wafting about the stage. In spite of the expected freak-show quotient in attendance, a lady bopping along right next to the PA stack looked like she just came from a Junior League meeting. Such is the all-encompassing power of Witch.

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