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Opening with the Springsteen-infused Blue Skies, the boys of Noah and the Whale have come a long way from the heartbreak and pain from their second album. Charlie Fink’s voice has gained a certain gravitas over the past year, and the rest of the suit-wearing band also seems to take things a bit more seriously. Gone are the hand-clapping and ukuleles of 2008. Their latest album, a stark departure from the melancholic First Days of Spring, has an unapologetically Lou Reed and Tom Petty influence. Part of their current world tour, which sees them on the road until September, Noah and the Whale’s gig at Stereo introduced the audience to a brand new set, style and direction of the band. Haunting, melodic and full of optimism, this was an amazing show.
The audience, consisting of high school groupies, music enthusiasts and people of all ages, was incredible and the roaring applause after every song created an infectious atmosphere in the small and dark venue. Having always considered them a twee, Sunday afternoon sort of band, I did not expect the high energy, synthesizers and boisterous choruses. This is definitely a band that is putting a new stamp on their career and washing themselves of the nostalgia and depression of the last album.
A careful mix of old and new songs, and with the older ones unmistakably shadowed by fantastic numbers like L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N and Old Joy, the set was perfectly orchestrated to showcase the new direction of the band. I don’t know how much Charlie Fink cares to rehash the past, but the audience certainly went crazy for 5 Years Time and Rocks and Daggers. Nonetheless, each song melded into the next one, and before I knew it, the gig was over. It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening and if the grins on their faces were anything to go by Twickenham's favourite film/art/rock band had just as much fun as we did.
Look out for the new Noah and the Whale single on freshair.org.uk's playlist next week!