Esben And The Witch @Molotow (Hamburg): Review

Lennard Boldt February 23, 2019

“When you know you’ve made it.” That’s the caption under the hilarious Instagram photo Esben and the Witch posted from the infamous Molotow toilet ahead of their tour start. The band’s pride is more than justified after having released one of the most atmospheric albums the last months had to offer, an album that fits perfect as a backdrop to the grey winter months of Germany. Apparently, lots of people had similar thoughts, and consequently Molotow was jam-packed with people.

The band put focus on the new record and opened the night with “Dull Grett”, which fittingly prepared the direction for their musical excusion this evening. And it was an evening with Rachel Davies haunted vocals and some cautious guitar play by guitarist Thomas Fisher, which however always found its way back to furious and aggressive outbreaks when the drummer filled in with the rhythm section.

The drummer, Daniel Copeman, wasn’t unchallenged in the quiet ambient parts in between; he had to deal with the electronics as well meaning he controlled lots of samples simultaneously as he worked the cymbals, bringing the songs truly to life. Physically limited in her movement because of mic works and playing the bass at the same time, Davies however tried hard to take every opportunity to wander around the stage.

The setlist was a perfect split between presenting the new album “Nowhere” and doing some fan service by playing their most well-known and popular songs like “Marching Song” and “No Dog”. But the outstanding highlights were two other songs; first with the “Marking the Heart of a Serpent”, one of the few songs you couldn’t stop slowly move back and forth to while banging your head dizzy, and their final song, before the encore, called “The Jungle”.

Unfortunately, although you are completely immersed in the music and you’ve lost sense of time and space, everything has to come to an end, and Davies finally announces the last song of the night. However, the feeling of “Fuck, it’s already over” is just half as bad because with a band as Esben and the Witch, the last song is fifteen minutes long – and they manage to captivate the audience for the whole time.

With a post rock/goth rock act as Esben and the Witch you would maybe expect a band expressing the same kind of inner darkness on stage as in their music, at least a band plagued by the dark harmonies of their serious songs and played for a serious looking crowd, but not this time. Well, the songs are dark and angry, but the band was in a good spirit and Davies couldn’t hide some smiles when she several times was thanking the fans for turning up. Also, the audience didn’t try to hide their enthusiasm either, which found its peak with people shouting and clapping for minutes even after the encore.


  • Dull Gret
  • Dig Your Fingers In
  • Marking the Heart of a Serpent
  • Golden Purifier
  • Darkness (I Too Am Here)
  • Marching Song
  • The Unspoiled
  • No Dog
  • The Jungle


  • Smashed to Pieces in the Still of the Night


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