posted on October 29, 2008 16:53
Noah and the Whale (live in Whelan's, Dublin)
Review Snapshot: An enjoyable night of folk-pop, that included the song we all came for: “Five Years Time”.
The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10
Full Review: It was a large and excitable crowed packed into Whelan’s to see Charlie Fink and his troop of pop-folk instrumentalists. The age-range went from just old enough to be there, all the way up to – as I could see it - fifty. Noah and the Whale clearly have a wide following, owing much of it to the extensive radio- and music channel play of their first single “Five Years Time” and also, the Laura Marling connection. No longer playing with the band, female vocal duty has been taken over by a red haired girl, whose name I did not catch. Also present on stage, a small brass section, violin and some keyboards.
After building some suspense, and showing a strange short film, they took the stage. Although well-translated to live as a whole, the stronger album tracks such as “Shape of my Heart”, “Jocasta” and “Rocks and Daggers” were instantly appreciated and definite highlights. Their frequent build-ups came across very well, and the layers of the different instruments on stage added a dimension to them that can’t be found on CD. I have a new apprecation for the very folk violin solos, now that I have witnessed them.
They took care of the die-hards, of which there were a few, with an old track, “Beating”, dedicated especially to them. Unfortunately, the pace took a hit when slow songs “Second Lover” and “Mary” were played back to back, follwed by a new song. But this was swiftly reversed when they played “Five Years Time”, smiling all the way through. It was hard to find a person not singing, jumping, head-nodding along. Another major sing-a-long came in the form of the limited-release single “2 Bodies, 1 Heart”, where we were given the opportunity to be their choir.
Throughout the gig, there was plenty of crowd interaction, made possible by the compact surroundings of Whelan’s. The front line of the crowd were less than arm’s length away from the band. However this did seem to cause some touble with some inexperienced gig-goers chatting noisely right under Charlie’s nose. He was stern but fair, and the kids subsquently shut up. And a girl called “Niamh” got plenty of attention from Charlie, which no doubt kept her happy.
There was no sign of an encore, but people didn’t seem too put out about that. It was a nice, pleasant gig, that left everyone feeling a little bit happier.