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Culture Shock

Noah Kahan Concert Recap

Folk-pop singer-songwriter Noah Kahan performed at IU Auditorium on March 21. The concert was a stop on The Stick Season Tour.

Kahan opened the show with “False Confidence.” The song’s profound lyrics are about an identity crisis with the goal of others’ approval. I originally thought this was an interesting choice, since this is a song from his 2019 album Busyhead, not the album the tour is for. After thinking more on it, it makes sense that Kahan chose this song as his set opener, because the song is about trying to fit into others’ visions of how you should be, and then realizing it’s more important to be true to yourself. His choice represents his victory of people wanting to see him perform as himself.

After the first song, the Vermont native introduced himself as “the Jewish Ed Sheeran, or Folk Malone.” Genuine and authentic, he’s the kind of artist you can imagine going grocery shopping.

Before playing “New Perspective,” Kahan candidly addressed the crowd.

“Have you ever had a bad day and seen someone so happy and you just wanted to push them into traffic?” Kahan asked the audience. “This song is about that feeling.”

He also showed that he values mental health. Kahan introduced “Growing Sideways” by advocating for therapy.

“Everyone here should be in therapy,” he said.

Kahan went on to play nearly the entire Stick Season album, including fan favorites “All My Love,” “She Calls Me Back,” and “Northern Attitude.”

Kahan’s band consisted of a guitarist, bassist, drummer, and keyboard player, in addition to himself on acoustic guitar.

Guitarist Noah Levine, also known as his alias Noah in the Open, has performed on all of Stick Season’s winter leg. He stuck out as an impressive guitar player, playing solos throughout the show and banjo on multiple songs, including “Orange Juice” and “Stick Season.”

Noah Kahan was signed to Republic Records in 2017. After years of releasing music, he skyrocketed with his October 2022 album Stick Season. A song on the album with the same title went viral on TikTok, expanding his fanbase. During the concert, Kahan honored his roots by treating his more seasoned fans to many older songs.

“I play ‘Young Blood’ every time I go onstage,” he told the crowd. “I wrote it when I was 17 and got a record deal. This song reminds me where I started. Playing it now for you is me celebrating where I am.”

This was one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to. It was so different from all the others, the crowd swaying and singing the lyrics instead of dancing. The audience was one chorus united face-to-face with Kahan, singing his heartfelt words back to him. It was so refreshing to see people be entertained by acoustic performances in modern music.

It’s clear that Kahan has a gift for songwriting, with poetic lyrics that stand apart from lots of mainstream music. He commands and captivates the audience with his vocal range, catchy riffs, and transparent messages, in addition to his approachable personality. He hits the perfect balance between simple and powerful.

Kahan proves that sometimes, less is more. There is more power in minimal sound and performance. Onstage and in the recording studio, he is wholeheartedly himself, sharing the message that it’s possible for people to love you for you. You just have to find the right people.

Stream Stick Season here. To find a concert in your area, click here.

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