Editor’s note: This article was originally published October 6, 2013
I never thought I would see Tom Petty live for a second time, but then I saw Noah and the Whale on Sunday playing the Honda stage.
That’s an exaggeration, but there was so much blue-collar heart just bursting through the set that, when things took a decidedly Heartbreakers turn on "Waiting For My Chance To Come," it was hard not to notice. Frontman Charlie Fink even moves like the rock legend (minus the dazed twirling Petty likes to do), with his casual stage wandering and arm spins.
The British indie-folk-turned-indie-rock band gave heart-filling performances of songs like "Heart of Nowhere" and "Tonight’s the Kind of Night." It was lush, feel-good anthems from end to end, held tight by a violin backbone from Tom Hobden. Every moment, carefully curated from the band’s discography, was the climax of an Oscar-bait drama, especially "Give a Little Love." Hands were clapped and hoedowns were thrown down in the gigantic crowd.
It was interesting to witness ears perk when the band launched into final song (and bonafide hit) "5 Years Time," a jangly little folk confection from the early days. It seems that Noah and the Whale can build up as big a sound as they want, but they will never fully escape the appeal of that charming little bohemian riff.