There hasn’t been many decent CDs this year but one of the better ones for me was the Whip's debut, 'X Marks the Destination', an indie album that leans towards the late 80’s sound. Think New Order at twice the speed and doing dance versions of their songs and you have kind of got it. As a result I was geared up for a decent gig at the Cockpit in Leeds and I was ready for anything that the Whip might throw at me.

By the time they came on stage they were running a little late. Maybe, however, that was part of a plan to get the crowd excited and eager with anticipation. Who knows for sure ? With the usual flash of a torch to the sound desk from the roadie and the dimming of the light (do they do that just so that the band can trip over in the dark ? Or are the roadies checking to see how many carrots musicians eat ? I still wonder the real reason), they finally, however, appeared on stage.

The Whip picked up their instruments with a swagger that would not have been out of place in a western. They didn’t just start this gig. They launched into it with more conviction than a religious convert. The first thing that struck me was the power of Nathan's Sudders bass, which kept both the whole sound and the band together. With Fiona Daniel on drums the rhythm section in this band is rock solid. They didn’t hold back. They just let loose with all their energy and talent in one big rush that the crowd found irrestably infectious. It took just half a song for the mosh pit to get going. By the time they played their second song, the single 'Sister Siam', it was like a party had been going for half the night. It was almost as if we weren’t allowed to take a breath, but forced to keep at their pace and a break neck speed at that. 'Sister Siam' is without doubt one of the better songs on the album and one which vocalist Bruce Carter, who shared guitar duties with keyboardist Danny Saville, obviously took great pleasure in singing.

Just when we were all thinking great what is next and what else can they throw at us, they rolled into 'Sirens' and then 'Throw It on the Fire'. Both are slow plodding songs and it really put a dampener on things. From this pointon the gig went into a slower mode and many of the songs came across as being much longer than the album versions. It sounded very much like they had played the same song twice, the first half of each number being the song and the second half being an instrumental of the song and then they had stuck it together. All it succeeded in doing was dragging out the song. The audience got a little fed up with it too, and even the mosh crowd started to stand and watch rather than get involved.

For a small band the Whip had an amazing light show. They did not have mountains of equipment but what they had they used in a clever, intelligent and imaginative way. It certainly added to the effect of party and gave a Madchester edge to it, which is the way the gig sounded at times, especially with the long winded ending to the songs.

By the time they had got half way into the set I had lost interest and even when they played more up tempo songs like 'Blackout' and 'Muzzel#1' it failed to grab me at all. I left feeling disappointed and let down. Even the encore in which they played the highly infectious 'Trash' saw me at the back of the venue and eager to make a quick get away which is a damning testament to any band.

The Whip started this gig with breathtaking beauty. You could almost see the energy go over your head from the stage, but after three or so songs it just got long winded and boring. It really was a shame given the great start to the gig. The fact that they seem to be doing extended versions of their songs came to me across as selfish and self-indulgent. They came over much more as a dance act and for me that is a great shame as their debut album suggests they are much more of an indie act. Their album was one of the better ones of 2008 but the gig was nowhere as good as the record.

Do yourself a favour ! Buy the album, sit in your living room and flash a light on and off. I wish I had done.










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Commenting On: Trash, Leeds, 13/11/2008 - Whip








ie London, England

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