2/26/2014 – The Red Room @ Cafe 939

It’s not every day that you go to a concert where the performer leaves the show before you do. But I guess when you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go. That’s why during the very last song of the night, the tender “Time Moves Quickly,” Noah Gundersen walked off stage and out of the venue the instant he had sung his last word. Luckily this was a lone hitch in an otherwise fantastic show.

Hidden behind his long greasy hair, the Olympia, Washington-born songwriter seemed shy at first, running through three or four songs before saying anything at all. His voice, however, came running right out the gate, harmonizing beautifully with his sister Abigail on opener “Poor Man’s Son.” Yet another Gundersen, his brother Jonathan, soon joined in on drums, resulting in one of the most dynamic shows in recent memory. On record, this music is mostly calming and quiet, but in person, the quiets get quieter and the climaxes get louder, resulting in a night of constantly engrossing music.

With a powerful voice that sounds a bit like a raspier, less whiny Conor Oberst, he gave the audience a great sampler of his work, spending about equal time on his debut LP Ledges and his previous EPs. Born in a strict religious household, many of his tracks detail his personal struggles with religion, something that he claims to not embrace anymore. The gorgeous, finger-picked “Jesus, Jesus” is a touching conversation about his religious doubts and how he chooses to live his life. The live setting, free from distractions, allowed focus-worthy songs like this one to stand out. He even managed to throw in a brief cover of Drake’s “Hold On We’re Going Home,” drawing giggles from throughout the obediently calm crowd.

He finished his main set with the lively title track from his new album. The lyrics seem to describe where he is in his career: gaining a strong, loyal audience, but not getting any big breaks yet. He sings, “Here, I stand on the edge of the ledges I’ve made, looking for a steady hand.”

Right on the Ledge: Noah Gundersen
  • Great dynamic range
  • Perfect venue for this type of music
  • Not much audience interaction
9.1Overall Score

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