Monday, 23 April 2012

Noah and the Whale at Royal Albert Hall

      Playing at the world famous Royal Albert Hall, with a capacity for over 5000, is no mean feat for the most confident of artists, but Blackpool's Rae Morris seemed to overcome her apparent nerves to deliver a stunning support set. Opening with Don't Go, the power in her voice echoed around the enormous venue, as the audience was left captivated by the stunning simplicity of the song. With only a keyboard for company on stage, nothing detracted from Morris' lilting melodies, and despite the rather nervous chatter between songs, the short set was a mesmerising one.

      The second support act, Bahamas, lived up to its name with summery twangs and rousing choruses, though it was a shame that singer, Alfie Jurvanen's, voice was masked by the 'oohs' and 'aahs' of two backing singers dressed like sparkly baubles, awkwardly swaying out of time. However, Okay Alright I'm Alive with its insanely catchy chorus, and lo-fi guitar immediately turned the set around, causing me to forget about the prancing women, and instead, focus on Jurvanen's ability to produce music that sounds like Villagers on happy pills.

      Walking on stage to screams from teenage girls and middle-aged folks alike, it's clear that Noah and the Whale have certainly succeeded in appealing to the mass market, and opening number, Life Is Life, reinforced for me why the band have become so popular in recent years. With close harmonies, a pulsing drum beat, and Charlie Fink's earnest singing, complete with his cheeky trademark grin, it's hard not to feel a certain warmth for the band that first made it big with their ukuleles back in 2008. Playing Just Before We Met, with its full-on electric guitar and bass, it's hard to imagine that this is the same band. Fink relates that playing at the Royal Albert Hall had always been a dream of his, and it's lovely that Noah and the Whale have grown into a band that can play sell-out shows at such huge venues, and yet still remain so humble in their demeanour.

      At one point during the set, violinist, Tom Hobden, travelled back to another time (well according to Fink, anyway) only to appear on the screen conducting an orchestra for the aptly named Love Of An Orchestra. Despite the rather 'gimicky' nature of it all, it showed the band's playful side, and prompted much laughter from the audience.

      With a good mix of songs from all three of their albums, and a cover of John Cale's Barracuda, Noah and the Whale showed that they can do more than just Five Years Time; and with a new jazzed up version of their famous first single, it was a refreshing change to a song that has been so overplayed since its release 4 years ago. Despite the lack of on-stage banter, the dapper lads from Twickenham proved themselves worthy to play at the renowned venue, and the applause after the encore was a testament to the huge success they've become.

1 comment:

  1. Great review and it sounds like a fantastic gig - wish I could have been there!! :)


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