Noah And The Whale @ Shepherd’s Bush Empire 6th March 2009

I arrived about 5.30 and I started queuing. There were about 8 people there in both sets of queues. One was for standing and the queue that I was in was for people with tickets on Level 1, 2, 3 or on the guest list.

So at 7 the doors opened and everyone started to go in. The queue on both sides had grown. I got in and said I was on the guest list. So I went over to the booth said my name and they crossed me off printed off a ticket and gave me a wristband. Now I didn’t know what the wristband offered me. The security guard said it was for the after show. Thank god I asked because I would of left when the gig had finished.

Well I then went to my seat. It was on Level 1 unreserved seating. So I sat in row A on the balcony nearly dead centre. I was sitting in seat number 6. The ground floor started filling nearly three rows at the very front were taken by people who were standing wanting to be at the barrier. People were also sitting down on the floor where it was standing just talking and drinking. The evening started at 8 before it started I went down the stairs to the foyer got a little programme and looked at the merchandise. Once I had finished I then went back to my seat.

At 8 the lights went off, the projection screen which was going to be showing the short films started showing the footage. This gig is so different to the gigs that I have been to before. Sitting was the best place to be. Well first was a introduction by Red Velvet who was the host for the evening. Now I could imagine all of Red Velvet’s pieces of footage being 3d. Well the first short film was called Le Grand Sommeil. Now I enjoyed this short film. It is in the style of the Cravendale Milk adverts. I advise you to view this it is on you.

When Le Grand Sommeil has finished it is back to Red Velvet. After it is onto the next film called The Bloody Olive. This film is a foreign film with English subtitles. It is funny and there are plenty of twists and turns.

Here is a synopsis of the short film: The Bloody Olive

The classic Christmas short film noir with inevitable twists and turns. Mylene and Werner are going to make their flat up for Christmas. Then Sam comes with a bottle of Veuve Cliquot. Sam tells Werner that he knows Werner has stolen money at work. Werner murders Sam. Soon afterwards, Sam is alive again and it looks as if somebody else would have to die. Who’s fooling who? Winner of the Grand Prix at Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival.

Once finished Red Velvet comes on the screen and once he has finished his piece he introduces Jay Jay Pistolet. Jay Jay then comes onto the stage and the lights come on. Jay Jay did a 5 track set three of the songs were I Am Always On My Way Back Home in which he waltzed with a man who had a mask on when the trumpets start playing. This man he looked creepy his mask had popping out eyes. Another song he sang was Bags Of Gold which he used a Grammar Phone for. After Bags Of Gold the last song was Happy Birthday You. During each song film footage was being played in the background. Even though it was a short set it left me wanting more. When Jay Jay went off there was a ten minute interval. I then went downstairs to the Merchandise and purchased a poster which was limited to 250 copies and it was really good this paper perfect for framing.

When the interval finished the lights dimmed. We were then treated to a trailer of a documentary Noah and the Whale are making. This documentary is due to come out in 2010 and it also mentions that the new album First Days Of Spring is due out June 2009. After this trailer it is back to Red Velvet. You could say that each piece Red Velvet does its telling a story. During the pieces you saw him on the phone speaking to someone who is the boss. Well after this piece he introduces the competition winner that submitted in a short film. Now this film took place in France. It involved a couple going to France. They had just come off the train. The girl is French/ English speaking and bumps into her ex. The girl and her ex then start talking in French with subtitles at the bottom. She translates bits of the conversation to her English boyfriend so he agrees with what the French man is saying. In the end the French man and her boyfriend go off for a drink. After this short film we are onto another short. It is called The Lounge Bar and it has a really good story to it and there is a twist. It starts with a singer singing a song which tells the story of the short film. Well there is a man sitting at the bar and he is having a drink and he has a head brace on. A woman enters the bar and says to the man service is pretty slow and I will have a drink. She also says that the man looks familiar. She then goes to the bathroom and the barman comes out and the man orders a drink which he spills as he is shaking. The barman gets him another drink and the man orders a scotch as well. The barman says don’t I recognise you. The phone goes and the barman goes to answer it the woman then comes out of the bathroom. The man then knocks over the scotch. Well the man he cant remember anything before the accident that he had 5 years prior that result in him to be in a head brace. The parts with the singer we then realise it is a flashback and we see how the man had his accident. He was the owner of the bar that he is now in. He was getting a bit to frisky with the bar maid. The Bar Maid Ngaire was asking for him to stop then Mike (the singer) steps in. Mr. Hadleigh (the owner) then gets a knife and just as soon as he is about to stab Mike Ngaire steps in and hits him over the head with a bottle. Mr. Hadleigh falls to the ground and then Mike notices that blood is coming from his ear and he has a fractured skull. The bar is located in Australia as you can tell from the accents. Ngaire then suggests chucking the body off the Wharf which they do. We then are taken back to the present which we later find out is 1977. The bar man then gets off the phone and Ngaire gets up off the floor and says Hello Mike. Mike then says Ngaire as he is surprised to see her. A bottle which Mike was getting then falls and lands on the head brace and it comes undone and falls to the floor. Ngaire and Mike then back up and say Mr Hadleigh in shock. Mr Hadleigh is still stuck in 1972 as he says to Mike that the job is his as he likes the songs as he had been the singer at that bar. Blood is running down Mr Hadleigh’s head and Ngaire calls for Mike saying it’s the brace. Mike doesn’t respond. We then pan to Mike playing the song which has been playing throughout this film. Then the credits roll. From what we can tell from this short film is that it takes place in Australlia and after the accident Mike took on the bar and renamed it to Mike’s Bar. Ngaire left to return again 5 years later. After this short film we have the last piece by Red Velvet. Now the questions I asked are Who is Red Velvet? is he a part of your imagination or is Red Velvet and the boss one of the same. Well when the piece has finished he introduces Noah and the Whale. There is then a rapture of applause and cheers as they take the stage.

Now Noah and the Whale’s set included a mixture of songs taken from the new album and songs from the first. The new songs were really good it is a change from the first album and has a different style. Tom now plays the Keyboard and the Electric Guitar during some of the songs. Well the old songs sung were Give A Little Love, Jocasta, Mary, Hold My Hand As I’m Lowered, Rocks and Daggers and 5 Years Time. During Hold My Hand As I’m Lowered it is just so surreal there is silence from everyone in the crowd. 5 Years Time Charlie uses the Electric Guitar and it is very different. In the background there is a montage of fans on the screen. Red Velvet then comes out from backstage for this song. The band then leave the stage when the song finishes and come out minutes later for the encore. The track they sing is First Days Of Spring which I first heard at the album launch for the first album at The Roundhouse. Another song that they sung was You Got To Let Go which I first heard in December at The Lexington for The A Sides EP Launch. Charlie teased the crowd again by making out that the song had finished and there was a applause then Charlie finished the song. Well this was a good set. A good mixture of new and old songs and I cant wait to hear them on CD.

After the gig I made my way to the bar on Level 1. First I went to the backstage door only to be told that the after how was at the bar on Level 1. So I made my way back to the venue and went back to Level 1. I went inside the bar and there are two monitors on each side of the bar which shows the stage. There is also photos hung up on the walls showing artists that have performed there before. Well later on Charlie, Doug, Tom and Urby enter the bar. I have a brief chat with them saying that I really enjoyed the night and I am looking forward to the new album. I then get them all to sign my poster. Once I have it signed I then my way back home.

OVERALL – This gig I really enjoyed. The mixture of film and music worked really well. The new tracks by Noah and the Whale were amazing it was a different style from the first album. Also old songs were played as well.

I give this gig: 9/10


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