The guys of Noah and the Whale are snappy dressers. When the quintet from London, England, took the stage at Vancouver’s Vogue Theatre on September 28, the first things I noticed were their sharp suits and shiny leather shoes. In a time when most bands perform in clothes that often look like they were fished out of a laundry basket, it’s refreshing to see five young chaps with their hair combed and shirts tucked in.
On tour to promote their latest release, Heart of Nowhere, the band started up the evening with “Tonight’s the Kind of Night”, the feel-good single off 2011’s Last Night on Earth, before right into new song “Heart of Nowhere”, which featured Tom Hobden’s piercing violin over lead singer Charlie Fink’s precise vocals.
The alt-country-feeling “Waiting for My Chance to Come” was a surprising early highlight, and the band kept up the good spirits with the crowd-pleasing “L.IF.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.” shortly after. “Give a Little Love” was the first foray into Noah and the Whale’s earlier work. The song, which showed off Fred Abbott’s skills on keys and Michael Petulla’s tight drumming, comes from the band’s 2008 debut, Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down.
Before singing “Old Joy”, Fink taught the audience its chorus for a gentle sing-along that seemed to please everyone. The band later retreated to another song earlier in their discography: the acoustic “My Door is Always Open” from 2009’s The First Days of Spring. The song ended with some spellbinding vocal harmonies.
Not to get too down on themselves, Fink finally declared it was “time to party” and the band launched into “There Will Come a Time” from their latest album, an ‘80s dance-rock number that seemed to pay a bit of an homage to Sting’s guitar work. “Still After All These Years”, another upbeat song that came later, kept the party-lite feeling going.
The show ended with a rousing rendition of “5 Years Time (Sun Sun Sun)”. For long-time fans, the beach-rock debut single originally released in 2007 is what many may have been waiting for all night.