Live Review

Noah & The Whale, Roundhouse, London

Noah & the Whale have grown up, and boy have they done it well.

The Roundhouse is an undoubtedly epic venue, providing the perfect location for Noah & The Whale’s equally epic new sound. Charlie, Tom, Matt and Fred (now joined by drummer Jack Hamson) take to the stage all looking very dapper, kicking things off nicely with ‘A Little Love’, from their first album ‘Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down’. There’s some lovely reverb, a nice steady energy, and dramatic lighting that confirms that we’re in for quite a night.

Highly talented multi-instrumentalists, the boys often exchange guitars / keys / violins, to an abstract projection backdrop that looks like it should be hanging in the Tate. After a few songs, Charlie comments that they’re keeping us on our toes with the set list, and it’s true – a mishmash of albums, but all with their newly evolved sound. Everything is a lot bigger and poppier (maybe even rockier?) than it was in their uke-filled past.

After a revitalised ‘Shape Of My Heart’, and ‘Last Night On Earth’’s ‘The Line’, with it’s beautiful violin and harmonies, Charlie tells us that it’s now time for the romantic part of the set, and jokes that ‘anything could happen!’ They hit us with a synthy ‘Wild Thing’ from their latest album, followed by ‘My Door Is Always Open’ - full of sexy electric guitar and impeccable harmonies from all.

The boys remove their jackets in preparation for the ‘transition into the good times party set,’ and the audience go the best kind of mental at the prospect. ‘Rocks And Daggers’ gets people dancing a sort of electric hoedown, before the intro of ‘Waiting For My Chance To Come’ provokes yet more screams. Next comes more classic Noah & The Whale, in the form of ‘5 Years Time’ – the audience love their old stuff, and it’s clear that the band do too, appearing much more relaxed.

Tom thanks everyone for coming along and informs us that tonight is Charlie’s birthday. Every female in the room screams and The Roundhouse erupts in a (admittedly muffled) Happy Birthday, which just about makes the straight-faced Mr Fink smile. Next, they give us ‘Tonight’s The Kind Of Night’, which has a fantastic energy and once more reaffirms their talent. They ‘end’ with a lovely ‘The First Days Of Spring’ with a brilliantly dramatic ending that sees the five of them turn in to face one another, quite literally rocking out.

The encore, of course, climaxes with ‘L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N’ and a room of dancing, clapping, waving, and singing. The track ends with a bang and the audience show their (significant) appreciation for the past hour and a half of bloody good music. Noah & the Whale have grown up, and boy have they done it well.

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