Kassidy/Noah And The Whale, Roundhouse, London – March 12th 2010
The Roundhouse is probably my favourite place to see a gig right now: smart space, ample loos, zippy bar staff and most importantly, a pie stand at the back where you can buy hot pie, gloopy mash and mushy peas. So I was in a good mood already when Kassidy took to the stage on Friday, four beardy fellas straight outta the 70s, all skinny denim, chequered shirts and acoustic guitars. Standing in a line, they strummed and harmonised with avengeance, rewarding the packed house with a meaty support act as tasty as my £3.50 minced beef and onion pastry parcel. Kassidy hail from Scotland, although on this country-blues evidence, you’d swear they’d just stepped off a plane from the land of the free…
Kassidy got the crowd buzzing with tracks like Yeah and Night In The Box – look out for them as a headline act soon. After half an hour they made way for the arrival of the main course, Twickenham’s indie-folk maestros Noah And The Whale led by their talisman Charlie Fink who seemed to have morphed into Mika on first sight. That’s the only comparison that can be levelled with the Israeli popster though, with Fink’s band conjuring up sharp musicality, fiddles and guitars to the fore, with his vocals so deep that they might have woken Johnny Cash from his grave with the vibrations. The band wasted no time crashing into the jaunty, upbeat Love Of An Orchestra from second album The First Days Of Spring, playing amid a sea of lampshades on stage. At this point, the packed house were poised to welcome the group into their hearts, love swirling visibly around a giddy Roundhouse.
However, while I wanted to love Noah And The Whale, I can’t say I did so 100%. The thing is, The First Days Of Spring is a break-up album packed with downbeat tunes and live, while the craft on show was commendable, a string of sad tales and deeply dour sentiment somewhat blunted the initial enthusiasm. Songs like I Have Nothing and My Broken Heart (“you can’t break my bro-wo-wo-woken heart” sang Fink as flapping gales of despair gushed through the audience) made you shift uncomfortably on your feet and the crowd began to get edgy.
What was needed was a more gutsy approach, which came in the form of Stranger which got the audience moving, followed by the perky 2 Atoms In A Molecule with its shuffling beat and and then Rocks & Daggers which upped the fiddly-dee quota to crowd-pleasing levels. Ultimately however, even though Noah And The Whale can undoubtedly perform, there wasn’t quite enough on show here to captivate totally.