There’s a statement-like quality to coming on stage in a suit. One akin, say, to suggesting that you might be just as good as the God-darn Beatles. Isn’t there? Well, no. Of course not. But it is a statement, especially in Noah and the Whale‘s case, that you’ve got a bloody good tailor. And the boys, who clearly have got a stitch to wear, come out tonight suited and booted to a downright raucous reception, strolling onstage to third-album instrumental ‘Paradise Stars’ looking comfortable as fudge on stage and more than excited. Already all bodes well for the baying crowd, and we just love that.
It’s been a natural progression from the twee pop princes of first album Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down to the Springsteen-aping stars of Last Night On Earth, and it’s not just the suits that give the impression of professionalism. The Twickenham boys sound incredibly tight, storming through tracks off all three records like a knife through butter, ramping up the quiet ones to true anthems and the true anthems to scream-fests for tweenage girls and middle aged men alike. The undeniable highlights come in the likes of ‘L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.’ (well, duh), ‘Five Years Time’ and ‘Tonight’s the Kind of Night’, although the band show more than a deft touch on ‘Wild Thing’ and oldies like ‘Blue Skies’ and ‘Give a Little Love’. What’s more, frontman Charlie Fink was on top form, peeling off his blazer to reveal some dapper braces and displaying some neat mic stand work.
Towards the end of the gig there’s a realisation that something’s missing: rock and roll. All night you wait for something to break the politeness of the evening, and finally, the encore. It comes. ‘First Days of Spring’ and one meek little curse from our man Charlie. There was no desire for smashed guitars or stroppy walk-offs here, just something that might turn the air if not blue, then at least a little bruised. Undeniably brave in choosing the first track of their heartbreaking second album as the closer, we get a taste of what it is to hear Fink actually swear, and it’s a little stirring to say the least. It’s an epic finale, and as the band turn, clutching their tweed blazers as they step off stage, there’s a real feeling that these small time twee-pop sentimentalist boys are on the verge of turning into full-on, bonafide rock star men.
By Joe Abbitt
Dance Yrself Clean