A Hoedown with Noah and the Whale

I saw Noah and the Whale at the ICA near Trafalgar Square and I have to say, the ICA is a hidden gem of a venue. I was right up there at the stage (I took the picture to the left) and although it was sold out, it had the intimacy and electric vibe of the 9:30 Club without the crushing crowd that sometimes encroaches my personal space.

We arrived promptly at 7:30, but decided to hit the pub and wait it out for a little while. After a pint of Kronenbourg and healthy conversation at a really spacious pub near Westminster, we headed back to ICA. A trio of guitarists/singers were on stage and they put on a pretty good show, although a little lacking in full sound.

Noah and the Whale came out dressed in blues and yellows. They fit the stylistic bill for many indie acts these days, but their sound set them apart. In one song I hadn't heard before, the fiddle came in with a riff similar to the one in "Sweet Child O Mine" and got everyone bumping and clapping. The bassist had a full-time job playing the xylophone (or something similar) and harmonium in addition to his bass. Laura Marling shook the shit out of the egg shaker but was still a little timid. With her new haircut, fresh from last Monday's in-store, she still won me over, but I wish she'd realize how good she is and come out of her shell. They played... around seven songs including "Five Years Time," "Jocasta," "Rocks and Daggers," "Mary," "Give a Little Love," two or three others I didn't know, and an encore cover of The Smith's "Girlfriend In A Coma." All of their live versions had more energy and momentum than their recorded versions, but that's saying a lot since their recorded stuff is great. Look for their songs on Hype Machine.

These guys deserve to get famous immediately. And also... I want a cd. So far, they've only released two singles on vinyl. Bah. All I know is I've found myself a new favorite band. Catch these guys at SXSW for anyone going.

That's all for now. I'm finally seeing Juno tomorrow! It hit the UK on Friday. Bye, friends.