Live Music + Gig Reviews

Whistler @ Union Chapel, London

21 September 2000

Following an excellent acoustic set by two softly-spoken chaps which included a cover of A-Ha‘s Manhattan Skyline, Whistler took to the stage of the Union Chapel’s annexe in front of a film.

The film was taken from a driver’s point of view, passing through central London streets to an unknown destination; at least until the lead singer, Kerry Shaw, let the largely standing audience in on the secret – “we’re going to Shepherds Bush,” she smiled.

Dressed in a long red coat and sporting short blond hair Shaw looked every inch a star, and with Ian Dench (formerly of EMF) on acoustic guitar duties and James Topham on viola she had the backing to carry it off. Perfectly happy to remain unmoving while Dench almost epilepticly threw his head around, Shaw was a vision.

The band remind one a lot of Black Box Recorder but without electric guitars. Recent single Happiness has the same knawing feeling – sweetly sung but with undertones of pure evil. Whistler, however, have no keyboardist or, almost uniquely, a bassist either. The viola takes on where a keyboard might have achieved similar sound and the acoustic guitar doubles up to cover the lower ranges.

An interesting mix and some memorable tunes; it was a shame that various record industry luminaries only seemed interested in the support act; good though they were, it was a pity they missed Whistler.

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Whistler @ Union Chapel, London