Recap, photos & setlist: Noah & the Whale at the Bowery Ballroom, 3/21/11

I would gladly spend my last night on earth with Noah & the Whale. This smartly dressed British quintet, with not a wrinkle to be seen in their suits, played the first of two sold-out shows at the Bowery Ballroom tonight. The new album, Last Night on Earth, received perhaps the most powerful treatment, but the band played a smattering of songs from each of their previous studio albums. In addition to rousing, hand-clapping favorites like the upbeat “Five Years Time” and “Rocks and Daggers” — included spontaneously by Charlie after asking if the eager, adoring audience wanted to dance — the setlist included the thoughtful rendition of a slew of gloriously dark songs from the band’s sophomore breakup album, The First Days of Spring.

Noah & the Whale’s songs take on an extraordinary extra dimension in concert. The fullness and the richness of their song — whether on acoustic folk songs or rock songs on the electric guitar — is amplified a thousand times by the band’s enthusiasm. It’s easy to see on their faces that they love what they’re doing: even their bleakest, darkest songs like “I Have Nothing” have a purity and an elegance that sets them apart from broody emo ballads on the radio. Similarly, Noah & the Whale’s poppiest, most playful songs aren’t just throwaway songs: substance and masterful lyrics complement pure infectiousness. It’s what makes them worth seeing more than once. Noah & the Whale play the Bowery tomorrow (Tuesday) night. Good luck getting tickets.

The opening band, Luke Rathbone, consisted of a bunch of guys who kind of had hair like Bob Dylan and played accordingly. Their drummer made a valiant effort with a drum kit that wasn’t miked to anything.

View the full photoset here.

Noah & the Whale setlist

Blue Skies
Tonight’s the Kind of Night
Give a Little Love
Give it All Back
Love of an Orchestra
Life is Life
Just Me Before We Met
The Line
[false start] I Have Nothing
My Door is Always Open
Wild Thing
Rocks and Daggers
Shape of My Heart
Waiting for My Chance to Come
First Days of Spring

Encore:
Old Joy
L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.
Five Years Time

About these ads

2 comments

  1. Pingback: Photos, setlist & recap: Noah & the Whale at the Bowery Ballroom, 3/22/11 « Trust Me on This
  2. Pingback: Photos, review & setlist: Noah & the Whale at Irving Plaza, 6/18/11 (with Bahamas) « Trust Me on This: a music blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s