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Making Music, 1995

Whale review

Sean McManus captures Whale in concert at London's Camden Underworld in 1995 in a review and photographs that first appeared in Making Music

Whale in concert

See more photos from this Whale gig

Now here's a novelty. It is to all intents and purposes heavy metal, but Whale really stand out from the shoal. There's lots of shouting, especially from the three guitarists, but there's an oh-so-sensitive melody floating above the mayhem. And it's catchy as hell.

The show is rough and ready. Guitarists chuck themselves about the stage dangerously and the lead singer grasps the mike stand tightly as she jerks her head around. The lead guitarist wears a neck brace. In the middle of a particularly frenetic guitar solo, he's thankful for any protection as the singer rugby tackles him. It's all part of the theatre of chaos, held together by tight riffs and an exciting performance. Guitars are used to hold the songs together and put punch into the rhythms, but never to show-off fretmanship with boring solos. Short, sharp shocks are today's speciality.

It's an inspiring set. For all the feedback and shouting, the songs underneath are wonderfully melodic. Between songs, it's clear the band are enjoying the performance. Despite the volume and intensity of the guitar bursts, they aren't angry songs. Tunes have never been such energetic fun.