Into the Pit: 035: Whitehouse – Live at The Grapes Sheffield – 15-September 2006

First support was a strange, unassuming guy called Martin Archer, who was doing some very clever mis-playing on Clarinet and then Saxophone, followed some rather familiar Bert Jansch stuff. Unexpectedly captivating, and undoubtedly very, very accomplished.


That Fucking Tank
Martin Archer

The Grapes, Sheffield
15 September 2006

That Fucking Tank were, I’m sorry, just fucking boring. One man on a basic drum kit, and one man with a guitar. Both wearing “novelty” animal hats and playing the most dull, droning “rock”. Ten minutes was more than enough for me before heading back to the bar.

Whitehouse, however, were something else entirely. A packed (and sold out) venue was there to be assaulted (there is no other word) by an hour of the most confrontational and loud noise that you can possibly think of. There isn’t all that much to it, in all honesty – thundering, rumbling bass, that occasionally forms a driving beat, a squealing, screeching high-end that worms its way into your skull, and then both William Bennett and his colleague ranting, and screaming both to and at the crowd. This takes the form of insults, instructions, questions, or just plain stream of consciousness – the most amazing thing is that even through the sheer wall of noise that one is subjected to as part of the audience, you can still (just) hear what they have to say.

It may not be pretty – in fact, it is anything but – and full of little but sheer hate and contempt, but it is strangely compelling. And also in that after 27 years of this, the idea is still the same, and still so influential.

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