Noah and the Whale at the Palace Theatre
Noah and the Whale are a band armed with a reputation. Adored by fans, they still leave non-admirers nonplussed – detractors aren’t motivated to hate them, they’re simply unmoved. Noah and the Whale have always exuded an air of seriousness unbefitting their position in British music. Tonight’s performance was the first of a series of Sunday night concerts at the Palace Theatre and nothing says serious like the West End.
Opening with Give A Little Love as part of an initially acoustic set, the band quickly established why they have enjoyed enough success to pack out the Albert Hall only a year ago. Frontman Charlie Fink is so at ease on the West End stage, it’s a little disarming. Although only 26, Fink has been on the circuit for 7 years and was composed leading the band through their performance. Aware of the slightly gloomy tone to some of the songs, he joked with the crowd about the need for a bit of levity in the night.
The break for the band’s new film, Heart of Nowhere, sat a little awkwardly, as the big screen was lowered onto the stage just as they were getting into their groove. Having penned most of Noah’s songs and taken a lead role in Laura Marling’s first, Mercury Prize-nominated album, one would assume that Fink could write. Unfortunately, it’s clear that without melody to motivate him, his lyrical composition skills are a little wanting. However, some of the camera work showed that the film was more than just a record label indulgence and it would be no surprise to see Fink take on a larger piece of work in the future.
Returning to the stage, the band threw themselves straight into some of their biggest numbers. The group’s musicianship is growing with each album, highlighted by Fred Abbott’s imposing lead guitar and Tom Hobden’s comfortable flitting between violin and piano. At one stage, there was even a “guitar-off” between Abbott and bassist, Matt Owens; something you wouldn’t have seen from the band’s earlier guises.
Although unlikely to win many new admirers, Noah and the Whale’s gentle folk-rock is going to soundtrack your summer if you’re an existing fan. There are three weeks left at the Palace Theatre and a trip to the West End is highly recommended.
Photos: Allie Suwanrumpha
For further information and future events visit Noah and the Whale’s website here.
Watch the video for There Will Come a Time here: