Witchskull – March of Winter Tour Canberra

24/07/2021 The Basement (Canberra)

Another cold and wet night which was dumping lots of snow on the mountains around. So this a perfect setting for a tour called “March of Winter”.

The place is The Basement Canberra, under new management, but with that easy feeling, even if Elvis has had a black metal makeover (check it out in the pics). We are very lucky in Canberra compared to the rest of the country right now, though COVID is still having its effect here as well with the late withdrawal of Immorium (Band member based in Orange meaning they couldn’t travel) so we now have an all-Canberra line up. The crowd is making the most of it too, knowing that this could change quickly. So we have a large number of old skool rockers in tonight to see National Live Music Awards 2020 winners of the “Best Live Band in the ACT” – Witchskull.

First up tonight is a dual bass guitar attack in B.C. Now this is an interesting sound, and they play an up tempo, high energy set that warms up the crowd nicely.

Next up is Pilots Of Baalbek, who have answered the call on the 23rd to join B.C. and Witchskull. The band is a fusion of rock and psychedelic tones. They put us through a great set which has the crowds bouncing along and getting totally psyched for the main attraction.

The crowd has built up significantly towards the end of the Pilots set and there is a lot of anticipation within the room. This is the first time seeing Witchskull for me and I have been speaking to people all night who have been giving me the lowdown on how much I am going to love them. They are described as Doom metal, Stoner metal, with a throwback to the NWOBHM. So, my interest is piqued.

The first thing I note is the couple of Orange Amps, stacked right next to the Marshalls and I’m thinking one thing for sure – it’s going to be loud. When the guys hit the stage the big crowd surges forward. The three piece in the first song show why they’ve earned their live award winning status. With driving beats and a bass sound that goes right through you it is certainly an experience. The sound is huge, the crowd is loving every second. It’s a headbangers paradise in here, with the big crowd swaying, bouncing, along in time with the sludgy riffs. The guys play for a good hour or so and when they leave the stage, the crowd bays for more with chants of “one more song”. They don’t have to wait too long before we are treated to a song in honour of farewelled friends to finish off the night.

The crowd happy to have had that last song, can now go home happy and everyone is beaming. As I say my farewells and leave to head out into the rain, I can see what everyone has been raving about. I may be new to the party, but I’ll be making sure to catch more of these guys into the future.

Review by Paul Kerr

Photos by Hold Still Photography