Our weekly round up of this week's biggest new tours, shows and events.
“My agent told me that one day what I am doing would click with people,” Seattle-based singer and songwriter Noah Gundersen smiles, looking out across North London’s stunning Union Chapel. Tonight, it definitely does.
Noah released his Lover LP at the end of the summer last year, having steadily unveiled new material – either solo or as fronting The Courage – since 2008. His haunting vocals, stretching across multiple registers, have long-cemented him as an underground hero. Now taking a step into more grandiose sounds, Lover has propelled him even further. Fittlingly, tonight’s venue is filled with a mixture of longtime fans and new discoverers, a vibrant array of people all inspired by his emotive delivery and relatable lyrics.
Gundersen is joined on stage by LA musician Harrison Whitford, who released his own full-length Afraid Of Everything in 2018, and also acts as support on the run of UK dates. “Sorry all my songs are so sad,” Whitford smiles, filling the still-working church with his gentle tones and delicate vocals.
It’s a theme matched by Noah, whose introspective lyrics focus on an intoxicating blend of loss and hope. This is exemplified early by a collaboration with charity To Write Love On Her Arms, supporting those struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. Promoting open dialogue to improve mental health, it’s easy to see why Noah and Harrison are key role models, both injecting unfiltered truth into their songs.
Noah Gundersen wears this genuineness on his sleeve. “When I think of Robin Williams at the end of his rope,” he sings in the powerful opening number named after the late actor, “it makes no difference what you’re making, the reaper makes the final joke.” Both the sheer force of his voice and the affinity to his own lyrics are instantly obvious.
Yet among the heavy themes lies a lighthearted touch. Gundersen, clearly at ease on stage and in awe of his surroundings, chats to the doting audience, touching on British food, jetlag, and his friendship with live collaborator Whitford. A low-tempo choice cover of Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody is met by ripples of joy across the pews.
Already boasting a clear throng of diehard fans, Noah Gundersen’s music is primed for bigger audiences. Underpinned by a powerful relatability, and with hauntingly beautiful live vocals, his agent might just be completely right.
Noah Gundersen continues his run across the UK with Harrison Whitford on the following dates:
17 January 2020 – Gorilla, Manchester
18 January 2020 – Tron Theatre, Glasgow
20 January 2020 – The Fleece, Bristol
Tickets for select Noah Gundersen dates are available now through Ticketweb.uk.