Charlie Fink and co. are great musicians and look slick in their suited and booted outfits, and an encore of ‘The First Days of Spring’ provided a snippet of the band’s greatest album, a heart-wrenching tale of breaking up and moving on. The combination of violins, keyboard and guitar has taken the band away from the stereotypical, NME-stage-at-Reading-Festival image of their peers.
In 2008, Noah and The Whale started off as a promising new talent, playing small festivals and releasing their debut album Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down. Unfortunately, their show at Portsmouth Guildhall proved the band’s move from kitsch folk songs to radio-friendly pop left their initial fan base behind, making way for a sea of middle-aged crooners on their weekend night out.
As the crowd sang along to top 20 hit ‘L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N’ it didn’t even make sense why the majority of them had bothered to come out for the evening and, even during ‘5 Years Time’, it seemed everyone was more engrossed in their slightly overpriced beers than the band themselves. There’s no disappointing feeling quite like the one you get when you go to see a band you love and the rest of the crowd only seem to know one song.
It’s not as though Noah and The Whale aren’t a good band any more: they still have the same talent and lyricism they’ve always had. It just seems like the fans have lost interest. It’s hard to put a finger on what it was exactly, but there was something missing from Noah and The Whale’s performance in Portsmouth. They continue to put on packed out festival performances, sell out shows across the country, and write catchy songs that are constantly played on UK radio, but what can they do next? It doesn’t look like much.