Noah Kahan Performs New Album at Recent Concert


Evan Montague

Noah Kahan onstage during his recent concert at First Avenue.

Noah Kahan, a name that many BSM students are familiar with, is a 25-year-old singer/songwriter out of Strafford, Vermont. He has recently built a name for himself in the music world, predominantly following the release of his viral song, “Stick Season.”

What started as an underground folk-pop song soon became the inspiration behind his most recent album, also titled Stick Season. This album contains 14 songs and runs for 55 minutes, making it a reasonably long project in comparison to other recent albums of its genre. Kahan gathered anticipation for this album with the pre-release of “Northern Attitude,” another hit song of his.

Somewhat contrary to his previous projects, Stick Season takes a very modest yet beautiful approach toward modern-day folk and alternative music. Best exemplified by tracks such as “Everywhere, Everything” and “Growing Sideways,” the whole project has a very raw nature. Not a single song feels rushed or incomplete, and there is a lot of room for the songs to breathe and gather energy. The album feels very laid back and well thought out, and its overall simplicity is what makes it such an enjoyable listen. Kahan also boasts his true songwriting talent and creativity through this simplicity, as he has proven that he doesn’t need a diverse range of tones and instruments to make great music.

Out of every song on the album, my personal favorites are “Northern Attitude,” “Homesick,” “The View Between Villages,” and of course, “Stick Season.” Though it is a very hard decision to make, my absolute favorite of these songs is “Northern Attitude.” The instrumental behind this song truly blew me away. The acoustic guitar riff that plays throughout its entirety is very memorable, along with the mandolin that layers on top of it. The build-up to the chorus, along with the chorus itself, overflows with energy and emotion as the presence of the guitar and drums drastically increases. This creates a very heavy sound, which continues to give me chills each time I hear it and compliments Noah’s bold vocal range. The actual vocals of the song are very clever too, my favorite line being “All alone, late in life, scared to live, scared to die.” Overall, I think that this is one of the best songs that has been released this year, and I’d rate it near perfect.

If I were to pick a second favorite song from the album, it would have to be the last song on the tracklist, “The View Between Villages.” This song perfectly concludes the album and incorporates all of the best elements of Kahan’s music. It is clear this song is very meaningful to him and is easy to find extensive meaning in for the listener. Though this is debatably the most slow-paced song of them all, it certainly does not lack energy and excitement. The instrumental begins in an almost non-existent fashion but picks up dramatically after the first verse, as Kahan’s vocals do as well. I once again get chills every time I listen to the energy building up throughout the song. Just as the song reaches its climax, the instrumental and vocals return to their slower pace from the beginning. This not only provides a transition to the end of the song, but to the entire project as a whole.

Beyond just streaming these songs on my phone, I was recently lucky enough to see them performed live. As part of the tour promoting his new album, Kahan performed at First Avenue on November 5th. My friend and I showed up early enough to get great spots in the crowd, which ended up being well worth the wait. Kahan was accompanied by warm-up act Adam Melchor. Melchor has a very similar style to that of Kahan and served as a great start to the show.

As soon as Kahan took the stage, the crowd was ecstatic, cheering as loud as they could. This served as a statement of the true dedication of his fanbase, again exemplified when the crowd proceeded to sing every lyric of his songs. For someone so early in their music career, Kahan’s stage presence was beyond impressive, as he had great poise and confidence. He is a great entertainer, and his dialogue connected the songs to make the whole show flow seamlessly.

The general atmosphere of the show was electric, coming from someone who has attended many other concerts. In addition to his new album, Kahan played some of his older music too, which the crowd still knew every word of. His encore was amazing too, which began with a piercing “one more song” chant from the crowd. He met the crowd’s wish, concluding the show with “Stick Season.” If you are able to see him next time he comes through town, I definitely recommend it.