Witchskull at The Basement Canberra

12-13/11/2021 The Basement (Canberra)

Witchskull with special guests B.C. and Charlotte and The Harlots were set to play a special night of their doomy metal on Saturday 13 November.  The gig was restricted to a sit down affair and limited to a 100 guests.  Well that Saturday night gig sold out in no time flat and the boys decided that Friday night would work too…  Next thing you know with Canberra reaching over 95% vaccination rate for over 12’s a range of freedoms were brought forward, so all of a sudden with only a few days to go this gig became the first stand up gig after a long time.

The Basement in Canberra is one of the best venues for live music. A number of bands I’ve spoken to profess their love of playing there to me.  They are always highlight the acoustics, the soundboard and the stage as being top notch, not to mention the crowds get right into it. 

We were lucky enough to be able to see and shoot both nights for Metal Roos.  The Friday night gig was the tester as people coming in were not required to wear masks indoors, able to stand up and imbibe, and generally get back to some semblance of normal… But it’s not without a bit of trepidation as we make our way out in this COVID19 world.

First up was B.C. a dual bass attack with all original material, some very bloody funny lyrics, and a sound that really just works.  I was a bit unsure how a band without a guitar would go, but with one member playing more traditional bass and the other up to all shenanigans, this trio provide a great start to both nights.

As the crowds begin to build on both nights, next up is Canberra punks – Charlotte and the Harlots.  A bunch of 20 somethings who launch into a high energy set of frenetic pace and melody.  The group has a big fanbase with them on the Friday night who are bouncing all over the place.  On the Saturday, it was a very different crowd and the fun the band is obviously having on stage spills out so that by the end of such a high energy set, all are bouncing along.  A highlight for me, is when Charlotte has her dad, the Baron, join her on stage to belt out “Wasted Again”.  The pair of them reminisce that it’s what they’ve been doing since she was very young.

Which means only one more band, the mighty Witchskull.  Having been introduced to Witchskull in my last live review for Metal Roos, I am more prepared tonight.  This Canberra band is really taking off, having kicked off in 2014 and the March Of Winter Tour will soon be back in action to allow the rest of Australia to witness what is building.  You get the idea that it is going to be loud when you see the twin double stack of Orange amps dominating the stage.  

The trio hit the stage and have the crowds on both nights in raptures.  Running through a set list that shows off their power and precision. For a three piece this band has a massive sound and are all over the stage playing up to the crowd and getting them involved from the start to finish.  They run through fan favourites such as Raven, Baphomet’s Child, Black Cathedrals and the March of Winter to name a few. The band also introduces a new song in Sun Carver, having a joke how because it is new, they’re likely to F#^@ it up.  No such chance.  All too soon, eleven songs are over and the guys head off stage before heading back with a two song encore of A Driftwood Cross and covering AC/DC’s Sin City (recently released on Magnetic Eye Records Best of AC/DC Tribute) to finish off.  

Everyone in the crowd I have spoken to is overjoyed to have spent a couple of nights being able to stand up, mosh and support their favourite bands at gigs again.

Before I sign off, I’d really love to send a big thank you to Joel, Tony and Marcus of Witchskull for providing Hold Still Photography such amazing access during the show.  Thanks guys, it was a fantastic experience.

Review by Paul Kerr

Photos by Hold Still Photography