After having spent most of the previous 24 hours travelling across the British Isles exploring, and declining, various job opportunities in the North East, I was afforded a bonus night in Manchester on Wednesday, bonus in the sense that the usual Wednesday night for me these days involves sitting in my flat on the Isle of Man and wondering how long I can delay doing the pile of marking sitting on my desk. With the Whip in town, on the last night of their UK tour, there really was only one choice of what to do.
I consider myself a long time fan of the Whip, having seen some of the earliest gigs in The Music Box and Joshua Brooks, as well as a particularly strange one at Manchester University in January 2007 with a number of bands, D.J.’s and computer games (amongst other things, said highlight of that night was someone approaching Alex and saying “I’m looking for Sex with Robots”Â to which the response was “aren’t we all?”Â) but this was the first time I had seen them in over three years. After a minor panic, a ticket was acquired, and after a search for the entrance to the venue (its round the back whilst they do up the front) its avoid the football and straight down into the venue where the support band had already started.
Looking at them, you’d think The Good Natured got some editions of the NME from 2005, looked at the pictures, and decided to play at being Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Listening to them though, you can hear the influences of Ladytron, Ladyhawke and Lady Ga Ga (Ok, kidding on that last one). Sarah McIntosh has a stage presence beyond her years and her brother Hamish on bass, channels the spirit of Flea, although thankfully with much more enjoyable songs. Club Academy is just under half full when they play, and they are received well. For a young band, presumably on a tight budget and a short set, they certainly make the most of their time. A personal highlight was a song called “Wolves”Â which can be found on their “Skeleton”Â single, release last July. Their version of dark, almost gothic electronic music is in a curious way, uplifting. In years gone by, they would almost certainly be massive, but after plugging away for a few years now, hopefully a degree of success will not be far away for them. After being one of the better support acts I’ve seen recently, I’ll certainly be taking the time to check them out again.
One of the things that annoys me at gigs is when bands come on much later than their advertised time. So, just after 2130, and fifteen minutes later than the Whip were advertised, I declare that it’s time to go to the bar, as the band are bound to come on when I’m there. So lo and behold, just as I order a pint of Smiths and a pint of Strongbow, the lights go down and on come The Whip.
One thing the Whip don’t do is surprising. Bruce will always be happy, Nathan will always be living it up on bass, Fee will always be hammering away dementedly on drums, and the songs will always be exceptional. This gig was no different. With the venue pretty much full, The Whip played a blistering set of their best songs from their two albums. Personally, I thought the first album, whilst still a very good album, failed to capture the magic that there live performances in 2006-2007 promised. However, in the live environment, they are few bands who can match them. Classics such as Muzzle Number 1, Frustration, Throw it on the Fire, and my personal favourite Divebomb are excellently received, whilst from the newer material Movement stands out. Bruce is clearly ecstatic to be back playing in his home town, and having seen The Whip more times than I can remember, his love for playing live is obvious. This is reflected in the audience who quite happily responds to his demands to “COME ON MANCHESTERRRRRRRR!”Â The hour and bit long set draws to close with a storming version of early favourite Trash, which has the venue bouncing as one. A fantastic set by one of Manchester’s finest.
Now, back to reality. This marking won’t do itself”Â¦
Keep or delete
Muzzle No. 1
Review By Liam Core, Picture By Alex Staszko