Leeds University, 31/01/02 

Everyone who knows Witness knows how they straggle the divide between americana and indie land.  Their two albums "Before the Calm" and in particular "Under a Sun" have had critical acclaim thrown at them from all directions, and quite rightly so.  Just as the second album had moved the band a little further away from their more indie sounding debut, we find them here supporting NME darlings Embrace.  When reviewing a band live, you have to forget about how amazing the last album was, and judge them simply on the show in question, so here we are ...  The doors opened about half an hour late, and once inside, the place filled up very quickly. Witness soon arrived on stage and apologized for being late - although, being the support act, it is doubtful that it was their fault. By the second song, it’s apparent that although the sound is not the worst ever, it could have been better - "what’s that f***ing noise" asks Gerard.  The highlights of the set were "Warning Song" and "My Boat,” both from "Under a Sun.”  I think the band must have tailored the set to match the audience, as most of the more up tempo songs were omitted in favour of the slower to mid paced songs. In hindsight this may have been a mistake, as during the quiet bits, all you could hear was the audience talking. That in itself brings me to this conclusion about the two different audiences that witness play to. At most alt. country, americana, blues etc shows, you can hear a pin drop, even in between songs.  Reason? Most of the people there are passionate about music and have made an effort to see one of their favourite bands, whereas with a lot of musical genres, the audience treat gigs more like a general night out.  Later in Witness’ set we were treated to a new song, and a great "Cause and Effect.” To finish off they played a rousing "Pushchair,” and then, just half an hour after coming on stage they were gone . So, there you go, great band, great songs, great albums, but unfortunately tonight , not the greatest audience for them.  Personally i cant wait for them to headline a tour of smaller venues, and to actually be able to hear them. We managed to get to the second Embrace song and then thought about the wet and windy trip back down the motorway and weighed up the options .- nice warm bed , watching "The Soprano’s" on video from earlier that evening.....versus.....another hour or so in indieland. Let’s just say, I knew Jackie Jnr would be taken care of for raiding that card game .

Nigel Kurt

(taken from http://www.americana-uk.com)