On a Monday evening, brisk and moody, people gather at the O2 Forum Kentish Town to witness the stick season president himself, Noah Kahan. As I find a spot on the staircase, I stand on my toes to catch a glimpse of the stage between people’s heads in anticipation of the Vermont mega-star.
Opening the show with ‘Northern Atitutde’ that recently received a remix by the one and only Hozier, the crowd goes mad, dancing away and singing every single lyric. As Noah Kahan greets the audience, he also proclaims himself as the Jewish Ed Sheeran, winning everyone’s attention with his witty remarks and candid persona.
“It’s our job as citizens whenever someone is having a good day, to fuck that shit up,” he introduces the next track, ‘New Perspective.’ Observing the people around you, you can often observe which songs are the big hits or personal favorites, but for Noah Kahan’s fans, it was every single one.
“The next one is about worms and dead bodies,” Kahan prefaces with that the crowd knows it is ‘Everywhere, Everything.’ With the first line, ‘It’s been a long year.’,’ you see people close their eyes, put their heads back, and scream at the top of their lungs.
Looking around, this is much more than a concert, much more than seeing someone who is trending on TikTok. This is a therapy session, and people heal, scream, and cry to the lyrics of Noah Kahan’s mastery, their bible.
Talking about ‘Growing Sideways,’ Kahan shares the story of when he was lying to his therapist, “I’m not going to tell an old man anything unless it is a Santa Claus in a mall. Even then, we would have to establish the relationship,” everyone laughs. Admirably, Kahan gets more vulnerable and admits, ‘lying was better than the truth.’
Carrying the heaviness of their personal experiences, ‘Growing Sideways’ helps to free demons into oblivion. Digesting the unbelievable songwriting, I witness one of the warmest moments from a live show as a group of girls, 20-somethings, holding each other tight, crying, knowing what this song means to them, feeling the agony of “I’m terrified that I might never have met me.”
Standing on the stage with perfect French braids and a dark navy denim shirt, Noah Kahan gracefully reflects on the first sold-out London show at The Social, where he performed for 70 people. Fast forward to the current day, when Noah Kahan has the entire venue in a chokehold, serving better vocals than the original recordings.
With ‘False Confidence’ and ‘Dial Drunk,’ people let go of all the bad and the ugly and dance all their troubles away, getting out of their seats to the staircase, turning the O2 Forum into a giant banjo-guitar-led festivity.
For the encore, Kahan returns with three songs, starting with ‘The View Between Villages,’ which people recognised by a single guitar note. Followed by the global sensation, ‘Stick Season,’ Kahan warns everyone: “It’s going to get ugly London, it’s going to get sticky”.
Closing the immaculate evening with ‘Homesick,’ everyone exchanges a look of pure joy, unity, and admiration for the Noah Kahn indie folk genius. I’m leaving inspired, healed, and a bigger fan than when I arrived, not knowing that was possible. Noah Kahan has a gift of captivating energy and unmatched lyrical talent, being able to put on a show that can change your life.