ULU, London  Thursday 13th September 2001


The first thing that hits you as Witness begin is the massive difference between the sound they make onstage, and the sound they make on record. 
Where both their fantastic albums sound polished and over-produced (in a good way), tonight, Witness are a ragged, loose outfit in comparison. With a set split between both albums, the much-talked about shift in direction becomes less apparent - for every anthemic 'You Are All My Own Invention', there's also the comedown that is 'Still'. 
Gerard Starkie's voice is perfect - one of the best around - but the revelation lies in the bass playing of Dylan Keeton (the nicest man in the world?). He forms the backbone of the band, holding together the noise evoked by Ray Chan's gorgeous guitar and Julian Pransky-Poole's samples. 
They almost sound like a completely different band to that of the one heard on latest album 'Under a Sun', and it's almost as if they've moved on before anyone's had a chance to breath. 
In the two years since their fantastic Glastonbury 1999 performance, those holding onto the old Witness should start getting over it - it takes time to adjust to it, but Witness have evolved as a live band into something far closer to mainstream acceptance. Just you watch.



WORDS: Phil McMinn

PHOTOS: Hayley Madden www.click2images.com

 

 



ED HARCOURT / WITNESS - ULU, LONDON

Two years ago, Witness were rightly being heaped with elegant praise for the
storming debut album 'Before The Calm'. Positioning themselves in an acutely
atmospheric, emotionally detached middle-ground between Radiohead and The
Verve, it seems incredible that the band now find themselves supporting
ego-maniac upstart Ed Harcourt.

However, they are, and in their relatively brief set, Witness give
forewarning of what could have been, if their studied, soulful melancholic
swathes of guitar music had been embraced with as much love as they clearly
infuse into their own work.

Tracks such as 'Here's One For You', 'You Are All My Own Invention' and
'Under A Sun', from the rather more commercial and 'up' new album of the
same name, come replete with sweeping chords and choruses, exaggerating the
dramatic scale of their transformation over the two records.

However, it is the lovelorn tremors of 'Still', a stripped-back 'Hijacker',
driven onwards by vocalist Gerard McKie's glorious, bruised baritone, and a
menacingly taut and droning 'Too Far Gone' - all from the debut album - that
reach for the magic of horizons not quite reached. Of course, there is still
time.

www.dotmusic.co.uk

 

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