Rock preview: Feb 24-Mar 2

The Whip | Nine Inch Nails | Gossip | Gruff Rhys - all on tour

The Whip
On tour

In every genre, there are the generals and the footsoldiers. In the new rave army, we find the Whip obediently falling in behind leaders like Klaxons, and putting in a very creditable bit of service. Of course it's all LCD Soundsystem's fault: having successfully made a rock band founded on dance music principles, the last two years have seen a huge groundswell in bands attempting the same thing from all different directions. Bruce Carter and Danny Saville might be late in arriving at the party, but they're still determined to get things going.

While these dates are just the first brace of a mind-bendingly comprehensive tour of the UK, their records - particularly Muzzle No 1 - seem completely committed to a dancefloor agenda, rather than a hastily executed bandwagon jump. Fatboy Slim is already a fan. Surely more will follow him.

· Plug, Sheffield, Sat 24; Barfly, Liverpool, Tue 27; Barfly, Cardiff, Wed 28; Roadhouse, Manchester, Thu 1; Koko, NW1, Fri 2

Nine Inch Nails
On tour

As with Ministry before them, Trent Reznor's Nine Inch Nails have for years illustrated the Jekyll and Hyde character of the synthesizer. Essentially a one-man band combining scary electronic atmospheres with the terrifying heaviosity of industrial music, the band has flirted with controversy (recording in the Tate-LaBianca murder site), even as his songwriting (witness Hurt) revealed a man often on the edge.

Post-rehab, there has come a bit of light. The 2005 album With Teeth saw the band intermittently, a bit like Garbage. Perhaps their new one, Year Zero, continues to put their past behind them.

· Apollo, Manchester, Sun 25 & Mon 26; Glasgow Academy, Wed 28 & Mar 1

On tour

As with Antony Hegarty, Gossip's Beth Ditto shows just how great the appetite remains for a genuinely alternative icon. Gay, outspoken and rather ample, did Ditto not front a band who were doing something pretty remarkable, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

And Gossip are that: at first glance a kind of blues/soul proposition thanks to Ditto's scene-stealing vocals, the fractured guitar rhythms below reveal the band to be a good deal more experimental. The promise of their working in the future with hip-hop producer Timbaland suggests this will not be a short stay in the spotlight.

· Astoria, WC2, Sat 24; Manchester University, Sun 25; Leeds Metropolitan Students' Union, Mon 26; ABC, Glasgow, Tue 27

Gruff Rhys
On tour

Though still joined inextricably to his band the Super Furry Animals, Gruff Rhys is a performer who has taken the idea of "going solo" to its most logical conclusion. Performing material from his two non-Super Furries albums, Rhys plays quite on his own, accompanied only by a guitar, a drum machine and a selection of what often appear to be children's toys. It's a format that reveals him to be a hugely entertaining performer.

Some hide their light under a bushel, but Rhys has hitherto hidden his under his band: as accomplished a singer as he is, and as original as his lyrics have in the past suggested him to be, Rhys's solo performances show hidden depths. Part stand-up comedian, part musician, and on occasion, part audience to his own show, while comparison is odious, it's fair to say SFA shows are not often as entertaining as this.

· Drwm, Aberystwyth, Sun 25; Riverfront, Newport, Mon 26; Komedia, Brighton, Thu 1; Queen Elizabeth Hall, SE1, Fri 2


John Robinson

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Rock preview

The Zutons, on tour | Isle Of Wight Festival, Newport | Fleet Foxes, on tour

John Robinson

06, Jun, 2008 @11:11 PM

Rock preview: June 14
Black Kids, On tour | Meltdown, London | My Bloody Valentine, On tour

13, Jun, 2008 @11:00 PM

Rock preview

The Raconteurs, on tour | Bon Iver, on tour | Jay Reatard, on tour

John Robinson

09, May, 2008 @11:17 PM

Rock preview: May 31 to June 6

Radiohead, on tour | Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks, on tour | The Dodos, on tour

John Robinson

31, May, 2008 @12:12 AM

Rock preview

The Duke Spirit, on tour | Thrill Jockey 15th Birthday, London

John Robinson

10, Nov, 2007 @11:47 PM

Rock preview: Supersonic Festival | T In The Park | The Hop Farm

Supersonic Festival, Birmingham | T In The Park, Kinross | The Hop Farm, Tonbridge

John Robinson

04, Jul, 2008 @11:11 PM

Rock preview: Feb 10 - 16

Flower / Corsano Duo, on tour | The Black Keys / The Black Angels, Edinburgh | The Hold Steady, London | The Twang, Barnsley

John Robinson

10, Feb, 2007 @11:57 PM

Rock preview: Feb 17-23

Ash, on tour | Kaiser Chiefs, on tour | Rufus Wainwright, London | Kings Of Leon, on tour

John Robinson

17, Feb, 2007 @12:00 AM

Rock preview: Mar 3-9

Eagles Of Death Metal, on tour | Arcade Fire, on tour

John Robinson

03, Mar, 2007 @11:59 PM

Rock preview

Robert Plant/Alison Krauss, on tour | Black Acid, on tour | ATP Vs Pitchfork Rye | Silver Jews, on tour

John Robinson

02, May, 2008 @11:13 PM