Photo courtesy of jamesbarnwell.com

By Kelsey Lewczynski, Staff Writer

I have happily seen this artist three times as of October 25th. Each time it gets better and better. For those of you not aware, Noah Gundersen is a young folk artist, singer-songwriter, from Seattle. His vocals run from rough to soft, smokey to tender. With a backing band finally joining him on tour, his songs gain many new layers.

Though he’s been in the music industry for a few years now, he’s starting to find more prominence in the indie scene. With his first studio album “Ledges” and songs appearing on the show “Sons of Anarchy”, Noah has found success. Well, not enough to my liking.

The venue that he was at this time was The Shelter, the small bar area under St. Andrew’s Hall. The first time I saw Noah, it was the To Write Love On Her Arms Heavy & Light tour early last year (remember TWLOHA? That’s some middle school stuff for me), and he was with his sister Abby.

Photo courtesy of jamesbarnwell.com
Photo courtesy of jamesbarnwell.com

Abby, a talented artist in her own right, plays strings and performs back-up vocals. Noah’s brother and friends provide the rest of the instrumentation. The solid bond between the band brings a certain sort of harmony and ease to the performance.

But before I go on anymore, I should touch on the opening act. In general, openers are hit and miss. Sometimes you wonder why the main act chose them, other times you walk away and say that they were actually better than the main act.

The opener for Detroit’s section of the tour was Caroline Rose. I don’t know how long she’s been around, maybe only a couple years, but she has got some serious chops. There’s a little bit of Americana, rockabilly and country. Take a listen to “I Will Not Be Afraid”, and bop your head to it the rest of the day. Maybe the rest of the week.

I’ll be the first to admit that, despite my love for this music, the venue wasn’t the best. Being below St. Andrew’s means that, if there’s another show that night, you’re going to have to hear everything. Set pieces moving, music blaring, four-on-the-floor going relentlessly… not fun if you’re trying to entertain your own fan base.

You could tell that everyone was not happy with it, from the band to the crowd. Seriously, I don’t know who booked a burlesque show at the same time as this show, but a reprimand is needed. Honestly though, it didn’t really detract from the performance. The songs still rang clear and no one lost the beat of the music.

I heard some of my favorites, like “David”, “Fire” and “Ledges”, and even an interesting cover of “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. There were some missing standards of Noah’s set, but they weren’t missed, if that makes sense.

I respect that he wanted to switch up his usual set list, even if some people in the crowd damn near constantly shouted out requests. Here’s a tip for those types of people: the band chose their set a while ago. They will not listen to you. Stop it. People next to you do not want to hear you. Honestly, other than that, it was probably the nicest crowd I’ve ever been a part of.

Noah seems to be on tour constantly and comes around the Southeast Michigan area at least once a year or so. I highly suggest that you visit a show next time he comes around. Give the “Family” EP a listen. If you like folk you’re going to like it. If you don’t like folk you’ll probably like it anyway. He’s one of those artists I have really high hopes for.