Noah and the Whale – Live in Aberdeen 24/10/2011

You might think that there is little to do on a cold, windy Monday night in Aberdeen but you would be wrong.

You might think that there is little to do on a cold, windy Monday night in Aberdeen but you would be wrong.  This Monday night I was hanging out with Zane Lowe, Ben Howard and Noah and the Whale and it was pretty hot!

From the minute my friends and I were inside Aberdeen Music Hall we could hear the sounds of Radio One’s Zane Lowe’s distinctive New Zealand twang rousing the crowd. Monday’s gig was part of Radio One’s live student tour which had started earlier in the day with Noah and the Whale performing for Fearne Cotton’s travelling live lounge.  I often find that gigs can take forever to get going with endless delays as countless roadies run about the stage frantically trying to figure out whatever has gone wrong but this gig ran strictly to time. Zane Lowe had the crowd raring to go well before the broadcast went live at 7pm.
Supporting act Ben Howard played a beautiful set – beautiful but with an incredible amount of energy.  He changed his guitar after every song and even broke some strings due to his fierce left-handed strumming.  A particular favourite from his set was ‘The Wolves’ which I haven’t been able to get out of my head since.
Zane Lowe reappeared for a quick intermission (I’ve never seen middle-aged men move so fast) while Noah’s stage was set up.  The five-piece arrived on stage to a proper Scottish welcome which promptly got louder when lead singer Charlie Fink admitted that this was their first trip to Aberdeen.
Noah and the Whale have been on my radar for a while now but having never paid the band any special attention I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  I have always enjoyed their music but live performances are always different to the nicely finished recordings.  Within seconds I knew I was in for a good night and I wasn’t disappointed as the set went on: every song was incredible.  Dressed in three-piece suits and ties the band looked very dapper and I am amazed that for the most part they all managed to remain fully dressed under the heat from the lights.  Only for the last few songs did Fink take off his jacket, waistcoat and tie.
The lights and whoever is in charge of lighting for Noah and the Whale deserves a special mention. Indeed she/he received one when Fink quipped that R2D2 had joined the band onstage.  The lighting was spectacular: unable to take any of the focus away from the band’s performance it really added to the climax of the songs.
The band ended the Radio One broadcast with their hit ‘L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N’ with the crowd singing along to every word.  Fink explained that ‘things could get a little more chaotic from here on in’ now that the broadcast had finished and the band played for another half hour to the captivated crowd.
Noah and the Whale, Ben Howard and even Zane Lowe are now firmly on my radar and Monday nights in Aberdeen will never be the same again.