Concert Review: Noah And The Whale, October 16, 9:30 Club


There are bands with great vocals. Bands with memorable lyrics. Bands with awesome lighting. Bands with witty banter. Bands with funky style. Bands with a personal touch. Rarely do all components come together, but when they do, ohmygoodness what a delight. Noah and the Whale killed it at the 9:30 Club in Washington DC on Wednesday night, excelling in all aspects of showmanship, musicianship and just-good-guys-ship.

It should be noted that the group’s outstanding performance was even more commendable due to the fact that they were at a disadvantage from the beginning, having been stranded in Atlanta overnight by a missing driver – causing them to push show doors back by an hour and a half. Never a good start in an uptight town like Washington DC where the average social gathering includes suits, early bedtimes, and points for punctuality. But if the crowd was displeased by the later start time, you couldn’t tell it from the packed and happy people in the club, who cheered the band onto stage to the James Bond thriller music they used as an introduction. Fashion highlights included amazing pompadour/poof hairstyles and a top hat with a literal feather in the brim.

Things only got better from there. Noah and the Whale launched into song after song of their old, new, favorites, and lesser-knowns. They provided just the right amount of conversation – joking they were late because they were ‘negotiating with our government’ to end the shut-down. Such a cute salute to their surroundings, while also being hilariously uncomfortable, given their British origins and history of ‘negotiating’ with the American radicals back in the day. They earned further crowd-pleaser points by asking what they should do in DC given that all the free museums were closed down, suggesting they should just go ‘Night of the Museum’ style and break into a few of the Smithsonians while they were in the area. Beyond generally pleasing everyone, the band also made the stellar move of making one devoted fan a rockstar for the night, naming a certain lucky ‘Amanda’ choirmaster to lead the crowd in a group-sing of their track Old Joy.

Oh man, honestly, there were so many highlights I can barely think of all of them, and given that I never read past the third line in most blog posts, I’ll try to wrap this up. What else? One interesting thing was that the band mentioned they often are asked to play songs they no longer remember how to play anymore, something I’d never imagined would be possible, but given the group’s long and successful history, I could see it being realistic. Personally, my favorite tracks they played were “2 Atoms in a Molecule”, “Love of an Orchestra” and “L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.”, but the entire set just rocked.

And the ending? Didn’t disappoint. The group offered a super heartwarming encore. I’ll end with a quote from a friend, because I couldn’t say it any better: “That band got me right in the feels.”

Posted on by halley in Concerts

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