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Hunt The Witch - Gig Review: Hunt The Witch etc @ The Kings Arms, Auckland 11/11/17

01 Dec 2017 // A review by Andrew Smit

The Kings Arms was a buzz with a wealth of punters keen for a dose of loud heavy rock music, all keen for a good time but regrettably the imminent demise of this entertainment institution was a sad topic of conversation for many, "it's all because of the council's greed and neglect, they change zoning to suit their bottom lines, with no thought to societies true needs", and so we paid our respects to the last Auckland beer garden rock pub, she will be remembered well. Of course, live music will live on and tonight it was alive and well, kicking off impeccably with the energetic pounding rock supplied by West Auckland rock outfit AnimalHead, this threesome gel brilliantly to create a powerful rock grind that could also be described as a bluesy kind of punk. The classic guitar, bass, drum combination was super tight with each member at ease with their part. Lead vocals were shared between Dan on drums and Josh on guitar, which provided a nice touch of variety, each had their own style and thus each song had its own feel and groove, all of which felt empowering and good.

After a short break Hunt the Witch came to the stage, and got to work performing songs full of melodic power, with the imposingly tall lead vocalist Sam Whitley in fine form, the band poured out their brand of spellbinding hybrid of psychedelic rock. Their sound is a glorious melding of Sam's commanding vocals with the melodic hypnotic arrangements from Bevan Carbines guitar, reinforced in visceral pounding form by the expressive bass by new boy Jason Clarke and Jason Peters excellent drumming. After experiencing a few of their gigs in the last year I can hear their sound and stage presence becoming more commanding and stimulating, a band to keep an ear on.

Next it was Dead Favours who took to the stage and played their cool brand of tight catchy rock songs, each time I hear their original tracks live, I like them just a little bit more. The energy, the melody, and their sound are pure rock genius. They mix it up and pound out song after song. Lead vox from Jared is for the most part tuneful and smooth but then he catches you off guard with a crescendo of incredible ear-splitting screams. Lately the Arms is haunted by some angry dead punter who was offering the band no favours by haunting the bass rig and rendered it silent, leaving us with some moments of dead air, which after some less than planned jokes were thankfully replaced with a bass less cover of AC/DC Whole Lotta Rosie which they peeled off brilliantly. During the track the bass was back, and it was a whole lotta rockin that we got to relish. The crowd enjoyed their set and particularly liked their recognizable originals which they would have heard on the Rock 90.2 FM like their excellent Tom Larkin produced singles Dig and High Flying. In 2018 you can check out these guys as they climb the rock ladder at Home Grown, Rock the Park and supporting Royal Blood!

Skinny Hobos were up last and you could sense something different was about to take place, when the effervescent Sam at the drums informed us that they have a special guest vocalist, which was due to Alex having some throat issues that will soon need throat surgery. (heal well and fast Mr Elvis) And so it was with a cheer that Jared from Dead Favours jumped up to the stage grabbed the mic and skilfully provided vocals for the night, giving Alex the opportunity to rest his vocal chords. Well let me say Jared did a superb job considering it was short notice, what great adaptable pipes he has.

I've never seen Alex so muted he didn't even talk, there was no banter with Sam, it was as if his mouth was glued together, but he didn’t hold back playing his axe, he worked the stage and delivered his incredibly broad guitar and bass sound that his specialist rig bestows so well. Sadly, again there was some more technical difficulties but thanks to the Sam Hobo drummer, who was Mr everything that night, (I saw him do lights for the support acts) he quickly jumped from his kit and worked away to fix it up and they were off again with another rousing cover, this time Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love, which gave the crowd something familiar to enjoy, with Jared doing a superb job emulating Plants extended wailings, he may have even held one of them for an impressive 10 seconds longer than the original!

The energy of the Hobo's songs and the fun they have on stage was infectious and everyone danced and cheered, thank you the Skinny Hobo trio. For most it may be their last memory of a night of loud and raw rock at the Kings Arms and it was quite a befitting evening to remember it fittingly well.

Review written by Andrew Smit


About Hunt The Witch

Auckland band Hunt The Witch began when Bevan Carbines (guitar) and Anthony Lakin (bass) started jamming on ideas in 2013 where a solid foundation of heavy sonic riffs were laid.

Jason Peters (drums and formally of Pumpkinhead) joined a while later and they continued to write songs as a three piece.

The last ingredient required was vocals and so Sam Whitley entered into the fray, whose vocal range, personality and writing abilities were the glue needed to complete the line up, from the first rehearsal it was crystal clear that the line up was going to work well together.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Hunt The Witch


Live At The Darkroom
Year: 2020
Type: Album
Strange Gods
Year: 2019
Type: Album
Into The Black
Year: 2015
Type: EP

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