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Noah and the Whale at Academy, Manchester Review

Anh Nguyen loves life when Noah and the Whale are playing live

Written by . Published on October 17th 2011.


Noah and the Whale at Academy, Manchester Review

I’VE always been undecided about Noah and the Whale. Are they too sing-along and generic for me? Bands are a lot more than just radio-friendly singles; there’s the live show and the rest of their catalogue to consider, so I didn’t want to make a decision until I’d seen them live.

The marching snare of ‘Shape of My Heart’, allowed singer, Charlie Fink, to strut his stuff on stage in a slight Ian Curtis manner

Lyrics of hope, destiny, chances, coming back from heartache and sadness, through the darkness  – Noah and the Whale play feel good songs about the future, the fact that anything can happen and it’s up to you to make it happen.  Cheesy?  Maybe. 

The band were supported by Bahamas, an American folk band, with that southern drawl  – interesting sounds that drew a bit of a crowd.  They supported the main act perfectly.

Noah And The WhaleNoah And The Whale

Noah and the Whale opened with ‘Give a Little Love’, with heavenly harmonies and a synth-like violin. This was followed by ‘Just Before We Met’, the most recent release, ‘Life is Life’ and ‘Give It All Back’, the latter an autobiographical account of how the band started and their influences, such as ‘Bruce’ Springsteen – which is evident in their sound.

The marching snare of ‘Shape of My Heart’, allowed singer, Charlie Fink, to strut his stuff on stage in a slight Ian Curtis manner, grabbing his microphone without a guitar in hand and swinging the stand back and forth.  In fact, visually, the band remind me of Joy Division – the shirt tucked in trouser-buttoned-collar look.   

“Are you ready for the good times?” the singer shouted before the band’s final three songs.  The crowd knew what was coming next. They played their very first single, ‘In 5 Years’ Time’ which got the crowd singing along and dancing.  ‘Waiting for My Time to Come’ and ‘Tonight’s the Kind of Night’ came next and with that, the audience experience was complete.

Noah And The WhaleNoah And The Whale

I went to the gig expecting to know a couple of songs but in fact, I recognised most of them, I just didn’t realise they were by Noah and the Whale. 

For the encore, three subdued songs followed – a crowd come down after bouncing up and down to the singles.  The band played the haunting but beautiful ‘First Day of Spring’ about starting life over again, but I felt they should have saved a couple of the up-beat singles to the end, so that the crowd could leave on a high.  It’s a bit of a cliché, but as a gig-goer, I like to leave buzzing with excitement.

However, after the gig, I’m now convinced Noah and the Whale put on a good show.  They’re a talented band who write catchy, positive pop songs. Their music makes the world a better place. Certainly my world anyway.

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