The Whip, hungry and hungover, are doing their best to order food. "Could we get some prawn crackers?" lead singer Bruce Carter asks the waiter.
"Like over there. Can we get some of those crackers?"
"Oohhhh, crackers. They're not on the menu."
"But can we get some?"
"We bring it to you after you order."
Though Bruce used the universally-known method of speaking slower and louder to get what he wanted, when the rest of their order included a White Russian, a battle to get an explanation of "What exactly is in the vegetable fried rice?" and a failure to figure out how to order "just plain egg noodles," it's starting to seem like the Whip is on a mission to test this randomly chosen restaurant in Chinatown. When the crackers do arrive, Carter stares at them and asks, "What the hell have I done?"
The night before, the band DJed the opening of Topshop in New York, and played a late-night set at Brooklyn's infamous Studio B, which Lil Fee, the drummer and lone girl of the group, blames for the current confusion. "We just had a really big night in New York. Nate (Sudders, the guitarist) is seriously hungover," she says. "He's the worst at looking after himself. He just can't cope with... stuff. There's literally only an 'on' and 'off' version off him. I think now he's just warming up."
Hailing from Manchester, the Whip are in America touring with fellow Brits Late of the Pier, as they have been for a while, and the shared antics are posted on Twitter, pictures and all. A laidback and genial crew, it's not hard to understand how this group wrote X Marks Destination, an upbeat, thumping dance album that only gets better live. It's also turned many of their peers into fans: They were featured in two
Kitsune compilations, and in turn, added remixes to the American release of Destination, including one by current hot-shit hitmakers Crookers. "Yeah, for the Kitsune stuff the guy from the label just emailed us on MySpace and we got included on two compilations," Carter says.
"The Crookers thing was great," agrees keyboardist Danny Saville. "We love hearing the remixes because it's great getting other peoples takes. They can come up with something completely amazing that we weren't expecting."
Their tour with soon take them back to the U.K., and for now, the Whip are having as much fun as a suddenly successful band deserves to be having. Carter is collecting his wristbands from their various stops around the country: they're all still actually on his wrist, now technically becoming armbands. "Yeah, they're like battle scars," he says. Later at the show, they polish off the gratis beer and move on to the whiskey that they've thought ahead and brought with them, but they want to have an early night in order to have a Rocky run at the art museum steps early the next morning (Sudders' cell phone ring tone is the Rocky theme song).
At the show, it's clear that the Whip are not who the crowd is here to see (Deadmau5 is headlining and one attendee has even gone so far as to wear his homemade mask in honor) but the frenzied response in the girls bathroom after their short set was testament to how they're gaining steam so quickly.
"Who was that again?" one girl asks her friend.
"THE WHIP. They're from ENGLAND."
"Ok, you HAVE to remind me to download that as soon as we get back," she says. —MEREDITH BONNER