Noah and the Whale – O2 Academy Liverpool review

Posted on 14 October 2011
By Matt Barden
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Noah and the Whale faced a sell-out crowd of an eclectic mix of old and young, the London quintet had a Fab Four feel, breezing onto the stage in trademark three-piece suits.

Taking centre stage, singer-songwriter Charlie Fink, violinist Tom Hobden, long haired bassist Urby Whale (who had the misfortune of playing in front of a piece of equipment blowing air out, making the wind swept bassist seem like he was performing in a L’Oreal advert), guitarist Fred Abbott and drummer Michael Petulla.

NATW are three albums in and seemingly trying to move out of the shadow of other Nu-Folk artists like Mumford & Sons and Laura Marling.

They opened with Give a Little Love, a chirpy indie-folk number but the majority of their set was made up of tracks from their latest release, Last Night on Earth.

The band have deliberately turned away from their folk roots and are heading down a more acoustic and stripped back path.

Fink’s voice and lyrics are still interesting, like a mix of Tom Petty and Lou Reed, and he keeps the audience fixated on him with his awkward finger snapping and mic-stand dancing.

But their newer material lulled a bit, with many songs sounding the same and it wasn’t until they performed older favourites Tonight’s the Kind of Night, Five Years Time and Waiting for My Chance did the 1200+ crowd really get going.

Noah and the Whale finished with a rousing rendition of L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N before returning to cheers for an encore which featured a rendition of Old Joy before leaving the crowd with The First Days of Spring.

NATW are a band in transition, they’re heading towards a more rock based repertoire but their older material still excites the fans the most.

Whether they will ever be able to shake their folk beginnings entirely remains to be seen. Maybe we’ll have to check back in five years time.