Manchester band Witch Fever are to headline a gig at Newport’s Le Pub on August 30 as part of The National Lottery’s United By Music Tour alongside the Music Venue Trust.
Since their formation in 2017, meeting through Manchester’s close-knit alternative music scene, Witch Fever – Amy Walpole (vocals), Alex Thompson (bass), Alisha Yarwood (guitar) and Annabelle Joyce (drums) – have spent six years making gains within an industry that still skews overwhelmingly male when it comes to punk.
Witch Fever’s raucous on-stage presence, followed by last year’s Reincarnate EP has seen their sound develop in intensity as well as scope. Refusing to be confined by gender or genre, Witch Fever have always defied expectations as individuals in society. Now, they’re defying expectations as a band.
Their debut album Congregation is the sound of punk without boundaries of any kind, and with it they are ushering in a new era of heavy music that’s accessible, confrontational and, most importantly of all, a huge pressure release.
Lyrically, Congregation draws largely on Walpole’s experience of growing up in a Charismatic Church – a form of Christianity that emphasises the work of the Holy Spirit, spiritual gifts, and modern-day miracles. She left the church when she was 16, and her parents followed suit two years later. Guitarist Alisha Yarwood also grew up in a church, though not to the same extent as Walpole, and all members agree that the themes of the album – control, abuse of power and patriarchal violence – resonate beyond a religious framework.
While the subject matter of their songs is often heavy, Witch Fever’s attitude certainly isn’t. Their videos have always been vivid and playful, showing the band having as much of a laugh on set as they do at their shows or in the studio, plus a wardrobe that’s very London Fashion Week meets Berlin club night.
“We always try to have a sense of humour in everything that we do,” says Thompson. “As heavy as everything is, we all love what we do, and the essence is positive and productive.”