Concert Review + Photography: Denison Witmer and William Fitzsimmons (Chicago, IL)

Denison Witmer (Philadelphia, PA), William Fitzsimmons (Jacksonvillie, IL)
March 30th, 2012
Lincoln Hall  in Chicago, IL

Singer-songwriter, Denison Witmer has been putting out albums since 1995. His latest album, The Ones Who Wait was recently released on Asthmatic Kitty Records. A show with William Fitzsimmons as the headliner, one might expect a very somber, gentle, quiet few hours. Then one has never witnessed a Denison Witmer and William Fitzsimmons show. Their music is tender, thoughtful, and at times hear breaking. But these two prove to be more than just beautiful music makers. Joking with the audience, telling stories of Axe Body Spray fights, bragging about being a new dad, and going into an impromptu Ashley Simpson cover. The song was “Pieces Of Me”, obviously.

Witmer played several songs from the new album, and also hauntingly beautiful version of Nada Surf’s, “Your Legs Grow”. He dedicated “Your Face” to his wife, this procured an “Awwwwww” throughout the entire audience. And took some time to brag about being a new father, as he tuned his guitar. All Witmer had on stage with him was his guitar, and the assistance of Josh Kaler on the slide for a few songs. This is all Witmer needs. He commands the audience, the moment he starts playing. Compared to Fitzsimmons, Witmer is a, “little button”, as Fitzsimmons said. However, this had no impact on his music, or his performance.

Before playing, “Life Before Aesthetics” Denison dropped a little bit of knowledge about the song. He told the tale of when he had his first apartment and there was a nail on the wall. So that is where his picture hung. Saying, “You can’t unring the bell and this song is about trying to learn to unring the bell a little bit.” Before he left the stage he revealed that he wis working on a part two to this record and is hoping to release it in July. The crowd at Lincoln Hall was so quiet and attentive during his set, that Dension jokingly asked if everything was all right. That alone is a testament of how he commands and audience. He didn’t reveal the name of the song, or any hints at an album title, but we are all very excited to hear it.

Fitzsimmons played a full set of old songs such as, “I Don’t Feel It Anymore”, and “Passion Play”. Joking about which cover he was going to play, he went into an impromptu performance of a little “Pieces Of Me”, the old Ashley Simpson tune. Ultimately he covered The Smiths, “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want”. Standing tall on stage as he tuned his guitar he joked about how much “guy love” he has for Witmer. “I just want to put him in my pocket.” The best way to end an evening like this was with Denison, and Fitzsimmons band playing Neil Young’s, “Heart Of Gold”, in a crescent shape at the front of the stage.


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