Jonson Kuhn | New SCENE
I obviously don’t know any of you personally, but I’m willing to assume that within your lives you’ve enjoyed a grilled cheese sandwich a time or two, am I right? It’s a pretty ingenious concept: toasted bread with melted cheese in the middle doesn’t get much better than that…or does it?!
I was at The Lyric on Tuesday, March 22 for the much-anticipated performance of W.I.T.C.H., with special guests Holy Wave and Night Beats, and at some point, within the evening it became clear to me that I may or may not have had too much to drink. Now at any other venue that might have become a problem, but one of the many great things about the Lyric is they sell AND serve food for all of those people like me who are still learning how to drink alcohol.
They have a lot on their menu but truly, the only thing that really matters is their world-famous grilled cheese with bacon. I can’t prove the Lyric is the first to think of adding bacon to a grilled cheese but they’re certainly carrying on the tradition with great pride and success. It’s a mystical sandwich that, if sober, might just taste like an ordinary run-of-the-mill sandwich, but if you’re intoxicated it becomes magically delicious! Honestly, I think police officers should be required to carry grilled cheese sandwiches with bacon in their squad cars and try handing those out instead of tickets…just a thought, I’m not running for office or anything.
But alas, it would be quite remiss of me to not get into the actual concert that took place that night as it was quite the evening for music, not just sandwiches. The opening act was Austin, Texas-based Holy Wave, and – crap, they were really good. Not just because of the easy setup for a pun, they were actually really good! With dreamy reverb distortion mixed in with an undeniable garage rock vibe, these guys were hard not to pay attention to, which is saying a lot for an opening act. Their latest album ‘Interloper’ (released in 2020) has been on my Spotify list for over a week now and I strongly encourage you to give them a shot!
The middle band Night Beats, who have actually been touring alongside W.I.T.C.H., wasted no time taking the stage and letting their presence be known. Originally based out of Seattle, Washington, Night Beats is the sole creation of Texas native Danny Lee Blackwell, and much like their Texas counterparts Holy Wave, they, too, were proficient in the blending of psychedelic R&B with acid-fried rock ‘n roll. Their latest album ‘Outlaw R&B’ was released in June 2021 and it still continues to melt the ears of those brave enough to listen to it.
Lastly, we come to the main event, W.I.T.C.H. (We Intend to Cause Havoc). Aside from immense talent, this band has immense history, as well; initially formed in Zambia in the 1970s, they quickly rose to fame and are still widely considered the most popular Zambian band to come from that era. They found a new popularity in 2012 after reissues of their albums started to resurface abroad; headed by lead vocalist Emanuel “Jagari” Chanda, this band has without a doubt seen more members come and go than perhaps Spinal Tap, however, as of 2013 Chanda has been touring steadily with 80’s keyboardist Patrick Mwondela, along with an all-new lineup, but still with that same great Zamrock sound.
To simply label them as a “psych-rock” band doesn’t do them justice, but it’s a genre they’ve without a doubt helped to define and carry on. Chanda has a presence on stage that’s both captivating and contagious, as it’s nearly impossible to not get lost in dancing madly as he leads by example. W.I.T.C.H. is out touring the planet right now, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait for their return before catching up on their entire library, past to present, on Bandcamp or Spotify.
And as always, be sure to check out the Lyric’s calendar for all new and amazing shows (music AND cinema), and be sure to check out that world-famous grilled “chee” with w/bacon while you’re at it!