Esben & the Witch

SXSW showcase reviews

Live Shots
Photo by Todd V. Wolfson

Esben & the Witch

The Windish Agency House @ ND, Wednesday, March 16

There's nothing like standing within striking distance of lyrical lunacy to focus your evening. Brighton, UK, trio Esben & the Witch beguiled the thin but entranced ND audience by a cunning and crafty sonic slight of hand and howl. Singer Rachel Davies – disarmingly gamine and sporting a wild mane that would've made Lord Byron retitle "She Walks in Beauty" – fluctuates between the mad, the bad, and the deliciously dangerous. Opener "Marching Song" set the tone, with Davies, alternating with guitarist Daniel Copeman and keyboard/guitarist Thomas Fisher to pound a floor tom senseless, whip-poor-will-trilled the sound of impure rage-ache. Tribal, even primordial single "Skeleton Swoon" shrieked like Siouxsie Sioux and a banshee crashing Nick Cave's birthday party deep in the woods. This wasn't goth, nor was it – despite the spastically minimalist stage lighting – some kindred spirit to retro-dance darkwave. Call it gloom-pop or call it nightmares off wax. Really, the only question is: When shall these three meet again? In thunder, in lightning, or in rain? Best bring along a black mackintosh and prepare for weather both foul and fair.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
Friday Showcases
Friday Showcases
Korea, Japan, Spain, Africa – see the world from single showcases

March 20, 2015

Saturday Interview
Saturday Interview

Kevin Curtin, March 20, 2015

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
X: The Godless Void and Other Stories (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, Feb. 21, 2020

Texas Platters
Daniel Johnston
Chicago 2017 (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2020

More by Marc Savlov
Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets
Intimate, semi-improvised last night at a dive bar sees delight in the dregs

July 24, 2020

Hill of Freedom
Delicate South Korean tale of love lost and found finally gets U.S. release

June 12, 2020

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Esben and the Witch

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle