Broken Witt Rebels are an emerging blues rock band on the UK music scene this year. Some of you may have heard them touring with acts like Cadillac Three, Kaleo or Whiskey Myers over in the States, while others may have seen them at festivals this summer such as Leeds, Latitude and the Isle of Wight.
I got to see them live last week at Camden’s Boston Music Room, just a week after releasing their self-titled debut album on November 24th. The historic building made an atmospheric venue as well as a comfortable one, with a bar and booths to sit in between acts, although it took a while to fill up for the main event. I caught up with the band a little before the show to ask how they’ve been coping with their recent success.
Seeing as you released your debut album just a few days ago, did you all enjoy recording it?
Phenomenal, we worked with a guy called Tom Gittins who we’ve worked with on a lot of previous records and songs … but it was a phenomenal process. We liked it.
How was touring with Cadillac Three up until earlier this month?
It was great, they’re really good lads, great music.
It was a really interesting tour.
We got to play Germany, France, Holland, Ireland and, yeh that was pretty fun… we got to play a lot of places that we’ve never actually played before across Europe so it was a great experience for us.
There’s some obvious influences in terms of bands like The Black Keys but what would you say are your main influences outside the blues rock genre?
I would say bands that we’ve toured with as well.
Yeh, the likes of Kaleo, Cadillac Three, Whiskey Liars. ‘Cos you’re with those guys, there’s not one show where we haven’t learnt something from them.
If you could go on tour with any current band, who would it be?
I would say Alabama Shakes. I’m a huge fan of Alabama Shakes so, you know, a tour with them would just be, you know, be life changing.
Also Haim, Heim, Haymme.
You just fancy ‘em.
How do you spell that?
H-A-I-M. And Fleetwood Mac.
And what can we look forward to in 2018, already planned many tours and or another album?
I hope so, we’ve got a booking agency for tours and we want to do some more headline touring. We’d like to do UK and Europe, potentially go back over to America, stick it in the pipeline and yeh the second album, we’re already writing for her.
After the interview, I then returned to the main hall in time to catch both support acts. The first, Aaron Keylock, had decent, heavy blues riffs and great guitar solos on a couple of songs, from the charismatic, teenage frontman. But Sonia Leigh, made for a perfect introduction to the main event, with an epic lead guitarist darting stereotypically round the blues scale like Skynyrd, while her vocals either burst out at you like a screaming Joan Jett or soothed you with that familiar soft accent of the Southern States.
A little past 9pm, the Broken Witt Rebels came onstage, opening with my favourite track, Low, and it is safe to say that the ensuing show was more than a little impressive. The single, Wait For You, Breathless and the best tracks from their EP’s were amongst the setlist (and album track list) including Shake Me Down and Howlin’ from their debut EP and everything but Suzie from last year’s Georgia Pine record.
Perfect timing between Luke on bass and James on drums created deep rythms that were just as effective live as they are on the album, which is a failing point of many young bands. The other James (there’s two) was relatively subdued on stage as he wailed well on lead and rhythm guitar, with some recognisable Hendrix and Led Zep licks in amongst his own style, but the star of the show had to be the singer, Danny.
Both came down into the crowd for an acoustic rendition of Turn Me On, but the singer’s expressive vocals and movement around the stage engaged the audience from start to finish. A grand performance and debut album from a young, blues rock band. I expect they will go from strength to strength throughout the coming New Year so definitely one to see if they’re gigging near you.