Esben and the Witch – Privatclub (Berlin)

Privatclub can be found through an unassuming doorway off a main road in Kreuzberg with only a red lit “P” to mark its existence. Inside, a small room with a stage at one end and a bar nestled around a corner.

I should have arrived earlier in the night as I immediately thought, in the words of Elaine Benes’ New Yorker cartoon, “I wish I was taller”. The place was jam packed to see Esben and the Witch. Impenetrably jam packed with tall German men and women.

Esben and the Witch

Esben and the Witch

Dark and ethereal, this three piece from Brighton in the UK made up of drum, guitar and bass, swept out subtle droning undercurrents over the room, moving from sweet soaring and mesmerising vocals through to brutal onslaughts of crunching waves of sonic, droning, distortion that just kept coming. The songs were long and told dark weaving stories.

I wish I could describe what was gong on stage through most of the show, but I cant – all I could really see tonight for the majority of the show was the back of a very large Germans head allowing me the occasional glimse of light coming from the stage.

Esben and the Witch

The subtle drone at the base of the songs ebbed and flowed, and at one point came perilously close to turning brown with a long sustained throb of a single, deep note. But alas it was broken by the siren song of the sweet vocals.

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