King Tuts Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow, 14/10/01
We (Toots and
I) arrived early so as to ensure that we didn't miss them as we had heard that
the headline slot would rotate between all three bands throughout the tour. Good
news!! They were on last which gave us a bit of time to get wasted, not for me unfortunately,
designated driver and all that!.
Grand Drive were on first and they were pleasant enough but the crowd clung to the walls and outskirts of the venue for most of their set and only towards the end did they move in towards the area in front of the stage. The frontman remarked that it was similar to the movement of pus in a coldsore. I laughed but the observational humour was lost on the rest of the audience and he felt the need to apologise for any offence taken.
Delta, didn't really catch much of them, we retired to the bar after Grand Drive and given the state I was in there was no chance of me carrying out a conversation and listening to a band at the same time. Excuse my ignorance please.
When Witness came onstage I predicted they'd start with "Here's One For You" and for once I was right. When I saw Witness for the first time back in 1999 supporting the Charlatans, Gerard barely moved, tonight he was flailing
around the stage with his acoustic guitar still looking scootered on weed and a bit drunk. Dylan had to press himself up against his amp to avoid an accident.
After the opener they slowed the pace down with "Till The Morning" a superb, melodic album track then "Under A Sun" which I reckon could be another potential, head-turning single.
An excellent acoustic led version of "Hijacker" followed, then "My Boat" which is seemingly becoming a firm favourite with the band and the fans, its easy to understand why, it rocks!!!. You can tell they get a real kick out of
playing it live.
Another live favourite "So Far Gone" was next on the setlist. On record its a quiet, fragile, slow-burner of a song that could pass you by if you weren't paying attention. Live, you cant take your eyes off the stage, there is so
much going on. It begins with a low pitched throbbing bassline. Gerard's bruised vocals enter the mix with some gentle strumming on his guitar, then it builds up into this euphoric wall of sound featuring some mesmerising
drumming from John and the best use of an E-Bow I've ever heard in my life, courtesy of Ray. Probably my favourite track of the night.
"Avalanche" and "You Are All My Own Invention" followed next. "Avalanche" for my money is probably the most laid back track on "Under A Sun" and is a perfect soundtrack for a lazy Sunday afternoon. "Invention" to me bears the closest resemblance to anything on "Before The Calm" with its mournful verse which builds up into a big (but not shouty) chorus, typical of the new album.
They closed the set with the final tracks from both albums. "Still" was performed in the usual tearjerker style and "Pushchair" awash with Julians slide guitar techniques is a mellow, drunken, whiskey-bar lock-in anthem.
Kind of a sad gig for me, cos if "Here's One For You" gets them the recognition they deserve then this could be the last time I see Witness in such a small intimate venue. Next time they tour it could be the QMU instead of King Tuts (The QMU is larger, bands along the lines of Turin Brakes, Badly Drawn Boy and Starsailor play there). But not to worry it will be better to see them recognised as being at the same status as their peers i.e. Doves, Elbow, Lowgold etc.
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