Noah and the Whale – The Brudenell, Leeds 31/03/11

noah & the whale

NATW have been spending a lot of time playing in my car recently, with their last album on a continuous loop of melancholic minor sevenths. As the rest of Quims know I like nothing better than a dose of misery which uplifts me no end. The new album sees Charlie Fink emerge from his Post Break Up blues and as has been widely documented brace Americana and with his Springsteen edged synthpop his band have conquered Radio 2 with their upbeat pop song L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N. Its not unfeasible as Bob suggested to see them achieving success in the States in a Coals to Newcastle export arrangement.

In the meantime we were lucky enough to score some tickets to see them at the world famous (in my world) Brudenell Social Club, where an enthusiastic crowd was shoehorned in to witness a band clearly destined for bigger venues.


noah & the whale

Style wise NATW are rocking the Mormon/Open University lecturer 1968 look with jackets and ties and fairly big hair. Charlies brother Doug has left to study medicine (how many doctors would have swapped with him?) and new member Fred appears to have been grown in a petri dish from a piece of Charlies DNA. (Job Specification: Mean Fiddler, Keyboard wizardry, big hair). Fred looked about 12 and could not disguise his delight that he had been airlifted into a band going places, breaking out into a grin from ear to ear. But the drummer was even happier he looked like the happiest man ever seen on the BSC stage at least since Jonathan Richman last graced it.


noah & the whale

Music wise we were treated to NATWs now fairly extensive back catalogue, with the accent on the new songs, thankfully (to me) interspersed with some of the heart-tugging laments from TFDOS.

They swapped instruments; they took their ties and jackets off; they got down to business. Charlie commented he was pleased to be back at the Brudenell a Fine EstablishmentĀ couldnt agree more, and suggest you book a return trip.

Their sound is now big and confident. There is Springsteen Simon suggested Mike and the Mechanics but I asked him not to spoil it for me but to me theres more Lou Reed in the voice and the phrasing. Definitely the reincarnation of the 1967 Velvet Underground


noah & the whale

They ended the set with the title song of that album, a quiet number which builds to a crashing crescendo. Magnificent.

Quite naturally they saved the hit singles (Five Years Time, L.I.F.E etc) for the encore. The audience lapped it up. They will be massive. (I remember I once said that about McCarthy which is one of the many reasons why I am a solicitor and not Simon Cowell).


John Murray

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