Supporting Foals last Monday, October 18th at the El Rey Theatre, fellow Brits Esben and the Witch, opened on a nearly pitch-dark stage with foreboding drums and discordant vocals. Newly signed to Matador Records this year, the three-piece band played just in time to fit the mood for Halloween. They’ve mastered a shadowy, nightmarish sound that would probably fit the soundtrack of walking down a dark alley right before an attack. The drumbeats are menacing and Rachel Davies’ voice echoed with an almost animalistic, haunting despair. Maybe the audience felt impatient for Foals but a lot of people didn’t seem to know how to receive Esben and the Witch. Admittedly, Esben and the Witch’s music is very mood specific so it may not immediately appeal to a crowd that’s eager for some dancing.

Words & Photos: Wei Shi