Thursday, 15 May 2014

The WitchDoktors & The Phobics live at The 100 Club London Friday May 09th

The WitchDoktors at The 100 Club - Photo by Steve Worrall
Two of Retro Man Blog's favourite bands, The WitchDoktors and The Phobics, appeared together at the legendary 100 Club last Friday as part of The Bermondsey Joyriders launch party to celebrate the release of their new album "Flamboyant Thugs". DJ Jeff Munday warmed things up perfectly with a stomping collection of 70's Glam, Stooges and early Punk from both sides of the Atlantic and he even slipped in a track from The Fallen Leaves for good measure...! After a brief and humorous dance routine from The Action Men, who I was surprised to notice included an ex-guitarist from King Salami & The Cumberland 3 (more of them later...) it was time for The WitchDoktors.

Andy Last of The WitchDoktors - Photo by Steve Worrall
The band launch straight into "Movie Star" the opening track from their superb "$3 Hooker" album, and despite the early hour, the crowd get into it straight away. Name-checking lots of iconic stars of the golden age of cinema and with it's "I just wanna live like a movie star..." chorus, this song is a perfect calling card for the band. They are steeped in the classic Rock 'n' Roll traditions and imagery of Americana, with their uniform of cool bowling shirts, they look like a good time, hard partying gang, Bassist Zig, Guitarist Tony, drummer Joe and Singer/Guitarist Andy, all unashamedly throwing poses and shapes but always with a wry smile. They mix up Clash style Punk Rock, raw Rockabilly and sleazy Garage Rock all crushed up with a twist of voodoo and a good measure of Jack Daniels.

Tony, Joe and Andy of The WitchDoktors - Photo by Steve Worrall
Two new songs follow, "Tie Me Up" and the supercharged "No Pain No Gain" which are both excellent and promise that more good things will come to those of us that wait (somewhat impatiently...) for a new album. A crunching version of "I'm Sick", where guitarist Tony shows off his considerable skills on the harmonica, is followed by the Johnny Cash influenced "Big Black Sack" which half-way through morphs nicely into a cover of "Guns of Brixton". The infectiously catchy "Knock Me Back" is quickly followed by a raucous "Neck Tattoo" and it's clear that most of The WitchDoktors songs could be released as stand-alone singles in their own right they are so good. The too-short set draws to a close with "Common Prayer (For A Working Man)", Zig jumps off one side of the stage and disappears into the crowd still playing. Then suddenly from the other side day-glo Punk legend Spizz appears after a bit of seamless swapping of the bass and manages to keep up quite admirably for a few bars. Then Zig takes over again and normal service is resumed! The WitchDoktors are quite simply one of the most phenomenal live acts out there!

The WitchDoktors - Photo by Steve Worrall
Joe & Zig of The WitchDoktors - Photo by Steve Worrall
The Phobics were next up and they treated us to some prime South London meets downtown Manhattan Punk Rock. Most of tonight's tracks were taken from their excellent "Deptford Calling" album with the highlights for me being "Split Personality", "One Girl" (probably the best song the Ramones forgot to write) and "No Faith" with it's New York nihilism "drop the bomb, annihilate us all..." refrain and Johnny Thunders riffing. Vocalist Tom, with his slicked back hair, prowls the stage whilstnext to him bassist Moyney, head down is a picture of concentration, ripped jeans and low slung bass. There's a nice bit of tension fizzing around the band as the rhythm guitarist seems hell bent on winding up his band-mates but he does add a nice bit of aggression and unpredictability to proceedings, no bad thing in my book...Check out The Phobics if you get chance, they are one of the best Punk Rock bands on the circuit at the moment and well worth seeing play live.

The Phobics at The 100 Club - Photo by Steve Worrall
The WitchDoktors will be appearing at our Retro Man Blog Night at the Half Moon Putney on Friday July 18th along with King Salami & The Cumberland 3 and The SuperMinx'70, which is shaping up to be a great night out. You can hear tracks by all three bands, and The Phobics, in various episodes of Retrosonic Podcast, have a rummage round the archive.

  For cheap advance tickets and info on the July 18th gig please visit the Half Moon event page here.
DJ Jeff Munday - Photo by Steve Worrall
The WitchDoktors - Photo by Steve Worrall

WitchDoktors guitarist Tony Major by Steve Worrall

The Phobics - Photo by Steve Worrall
For more photos of the gig at the 100 Club, please head on over to the Retro Man Blog Facebook page and hit "Like" for access to the photo album.

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