Walking up to Irving Plaza on Saturday night, you would have never guessed the weather was below freezing by the way the line stretched way down the block and around the corner. Fans lined up early and eagerly to see the sold-out lineup of Noah Kahan and The Strumbellas grace the stage before them.
Despite battling sickness, Noah Kahan took the stage with what was left of his voice and ignited the crowd from start to finish. Surrounded by a full band, Noah’s set included “Hurt Somebody,” which I happily clapped along to from my spot at the balcony. Standing next to a mom and her two young daughters, I could see the elation in their faces as they did the same. Noah’s voice reminded me a bit of a cross between Passenger and James Bay in the best ways. Another song that found its way into the set was “Young Blood,” a lyrically somber song, but surprisingly triumphant in its chorus. It earned the biggest and loudest response of the night, with an avalanche of applause at the conclusion.
With the crowd well warmed from that set, The Strumbellas continued the momentum from their first note. Against a backdrop of technicolored illustrations, a bevy of musicians, from violinist, to drummer, to keyboardist, to guitarist and everything in between filled the stage armed with endless talent and enthusiasm. Lead singer Simon Ward lost both his shoes and his jacket early in the night signaling what kind of show this would be. Fans pressed against the barrier feverishly sang along with every single word and inflection, and stomped and clapped along with the music took over.
A great highlight of the night was Simon’s young son Theo took the stage to sing “Wild Sun” along with his father. I’m sure Theo made his dad proud when he didn’t shy away from the power note near the end. “Shovels and Dirt” also made an appearance on the setlist to everyone’s loud approval. I even caught the security guards tapping their feet along with the beat.
That infectious spirit permeated the air in the building. Whether a long time fan or a new addition to the fold, you couldn’t help but get wrapped up in both acts sound. A true treat for the ears and a fantastic way to spend a chilly Saturday evening.
Article: Lesley Keller