Live Review: Esben and the Witch & The Hundredth Anniversary – Hope & Ruin, Brighton

When you rock up to a venue and there are only two bands on the bill, there may be the thought that it could be an early night. However, when the headline act is Esben and the Witch – who aren’t exactly known for their short snappy songs – then you know you are going to be in for an epic night.

In a packed Hope & Ruin in Brighton, the night was started by home-town three piece The Hundredth Anniversary, whose atmospheric guitar led tones were the perfect caveat to what was to follow. Even though the music they were playing may not necessarily be ground breaking, it was none the less enjoyable, and the use of an organ was a nice touch to bring something a little bit different to their performance. (2/5)

With tonight’s show being a sell-out, it was very clear that Brighton still holds Esben and the Witch in a high regard as the trio used to call this city home. With just the reflective light of a huge disco ball in the corner of the room to light the stage, the three-piece launched into ‘Sylvan’.

From the opening sound of drummer Daniel Copeman’s kick drum, the audience was transfixed on the sounds being produced by the band. A huge draw for many to the band is the vocal talents of Rachel Davies and hearing it live gives it even more of a hypnotic feel, with ever note she hits being pitch perfect. With the band playing a range of songs from their back catalogue with songs like ‘Dig Your Fingers In’ and ‘The Wolf’s Sun’ really showcasing the talents of the trio.

When looking at the set times seeing that Esben and the Witch were set to be on stage for an hour-and-a-half, there could have been cause to think “that’s a bit long”, but there was not a wasted second in everything the band did. For the dark demeanour that the band’s music may portray, they kept addressing the audience stating how thankful to be back in Brighton, and stepping off stage you could see the beaming smiles on the band as they looked out on a crowd who were hooked on every single note they played. (4/5)


Words by Tim Birkbeck.


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