Went to see Noah and the Whale and Slow Club last night at "Get it Loud in Libraries" in Lancaster Library. A completely brilliant setting as the bands are hemmed in with books, spoken word tapes and cds on a stage and a venue seriously intimate. People sat crossed legged on the floor in the manner of five year olds (but ones with good taste in music- not the Tweenies or something)...
Slow Club have compact and sublime songs ranging from raucous to soft. Masters of crescendo its really hard to believe only two people are up there making so much sound. Shouts and duel harmonies so lovely they lie next to each other perfectly, entwining and breaking at different points. to tell the tales Stories are told through the medium of guitar, drums (and old bits of chair tapped loudly) and voice; "Apples and Pairs" takes simple melodies and a smooth pace and adds lyrics sprinkled with melancholy and a twist on a simple love story. "Me and You" shows the dexterity of the band in that they can make faster music which gathers the audience up in its joyful dips and dives.
Noah and the Whale were superb! Racing through "Mary", "Jocasta" and "Shape of My Heart" they played a tight set with various members taking up different instruments and Rebecca (Slow Club) on harmonies. I've long been enjoying this new emerging "folk" scene (neu-folk? Oh dear God no. Getting a bit of the Klaxons touch with genre going on!) and live Noah and the Whale sounded better than ever. Crisp sounds fly over one another as guitars and glockenspiel and violin and drums weave around creating beautiful noise. The influence of the "anti-folk" / Jeffrey Lewis thing is almost tangible and culminating their set with "5 Years Time" a feel good glow almost descended on the audience and heads bobbed and hands clapped and some Spanish people filled in optional "Woo's" and jigs. They came back on to play a Temptations cover trying (slightly failing) to get some audience participation going on and leaving the stage to a wealth of new fans.