Live Review: Noah and the Whale @ Koko, November 6th 2008

Noah and the Whale’s rise to success this summer has seen them bring folk to the masses. A hit single, a charismatic front man and colourful t shirts have worked wonders with the festival crowds, and brought them the notoriety and fan base to start playing bigger venues. Thursday’s sell out show at Koko could have been a difficult transition from the sunny days of summer to the dark nights of November, but the audience certainly didn’t seem too concerned on that front.

With lively support Sleeping States warming up the crowd, they needn’t have worried about a less-than-enthusiastic response. Complete with hysterical screaming from a number of love struck fans, the band pulled off the difficult task of opening with a non-album track to great applause, and followed it up with a set that combined heart melting love songs with the sort of smile enducing happy-pop-folk for which they’ve become loved this summer.

Charlie’s vocals have no trouble filling the venue, and a big thumbs up to sister-of-Johnny, Lillie Flynn, for filling the oh-so-big shoes of the now departed Laura Marling. The band were very well received and had everyone in the room singing along to every track.

I loved the gig, but somehow it seems wrong to try to reign in the vibrancy and colour of Noah and box it up in a venue like Koko. It feels a bit like walking around a zoo when you’ve just spent the summer on safari. Bring on next summer when Noah and the Whale return to their natural habitat of festival stages and marquees.

Words: Mary Liggins