A Witness were one of the bands in the post post punk noisenik period. Beloved by John Peel, their obtuse stub toed bass driven riffary was innovative and Doc Martin awkward and are one of the key bands in the ‘Death To Trad Rock’ book.
RARE ”ËPANCREAS’ PERIOD FOOTAGE OF A WITNESS POSTED ON YOUTUBE
Rare footage of cult ”Ëindie’ band A Witness from a gig in Paris 25 years ago has been posted on YouTube.
The posting is the largest collection of film of A Witness in action live, taken from a show in central Paris in December 1986 which also featured Bogshed. Angular and experimental but with driving danceable rhythms, A Witness recorded four sessions for Peel and appeared on the same bills as Swans, Sonic Youth, The Fall and The Wedding Present in the mid to late ”Ë80s.
This concert was a one-off following a tour of Germany and Holland the band made with cubist pop noise combo Big Flame to promote Ron Johnson Records, home to both Manchester-based bands. The tour ended with Big Flame announcing their split and bassist Alan Brown joining A Witness on drums.
The five tracks featured on film include two from the band’s release two months previously, their critically acclaimed debut album I Am John’s Pancreas which reached number 18 in the NME charts. ”ËSharpened Sticks’ was included on the NME’s now-seminal collection C-86 and ”ËThe Loudhailer Song’ is part of a collection of tracks from the period included in a compilation Death To Trad Rock, accompanying John Robb’s 2010 book.
The three other tracks ”â ”ËNodding Dog Moustache’, ”ËFaglane Morris Wind’ and ”ËRaw Patch’ ”â formed the bulk of the following A Witness 12”Â single One Foot in the Groove, their 1988 final release with soon-to-go-bust Ron Johnson.
Guitarist Rick Aitken would die in a climbing accident a year after that release, giving this film added poignancy yet showing him at the height of his powers.
The line-up of the band at this time was: Rick Aitken (guitar), Alan Brown (drums), Keith Curtis (vocals) and Vince Hunt (bass). The gig was filmed on an early camcorder but is surprisingly clear given the technology at the time.
A Witness bassist Vince Hunt said: ”ËThe Paris gig was one of the best we did in our seven years and it’s great to see it finally released. It’s particularly good to see Rick playing. He was a great guitarist and I’m glad his work is on YouTube for a new generation to see.”Â
In 2006 the record label Euphonium released I Am John’s Pancreas on CD for the first time. Radio 2’s Stuart Maconie described it as ”Ëmagnificent’; Subba Cultcha as ”Ëjoyfully moody and angular, experimental and weird, trivial and complex.’