March 3, 2023 | ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT | By Brett Levan
“Don’t take yourself so seriously / Look at you all dressed up for someone you never see / You’re here for a reason, but you don’t know why / You’re split and uneven your hands to the sky / Surrender yourself”— “False Confidence” by Noah Kahan.
When it comes to the demographics of Colorado College, there is undeniably a diverse representation of where people call home. Whether it be from Seattle, “JOB” (just outside Boston), or the mountains and prairies in between and abroad, it’s apparent that the coasts have a prominent home here at CC.
Noah Kahan’s newest album, “Stick Season,” exemplifies a love and feeling of being raised in New England, with one of his most famous lines being, “I’m mean because I grew up in New England”, — a feeling I cannot relate to since I grew up in Kansas and Indiana. Despite where fans reside, a universal love for Noah Kahan radiated throughout Mission Ballroom the night of Feb. 17. That night, 3,800 fans, the most fans of any show on this tour, filled the Downtown Denver venue to hear Kahan and his band perform.
The Mission Ballroom erupted with a roar as Noah Kahan opened his second-to-last show of the “Stick Seasons” tour with one of my favorite songs, “False Confidence,” released in 2019. Kahan’s setlist consisted of twenty-two songs from his incredibly successful album, “Stick Season”, as well as his older albums, “Busyhead”, “I Was/I Am”, “Cape Elizabeth”, and “Hurt Somebody”.
The Mission Ballroom was a great, intimate space to watch Jack Van Cleaf open for Kahan. Van Cleaf is a California raised singer-songwriter who accompanied Kahan on his “Stick Seasons” tour along with Van Cleaf’s fellow band members.
The release of “Stick Season” in Oct. 2022 created a new and special energy from fans surrounding Noah Kahan. Even after being in the top one percent of Kahan’s listeners and him being my top artist of the year on my 2022 Spotify Wrapped by a long shot, being present at one of his live shows was an experience like no other.
Prior to his Feb. 17 show, Kahan posted an Instagram story saying there was going to be a “guest of a lifetime.” Anticipation coursed through me until Kahan brought out the lead singer of The Lumineers, Wesley Schultz. The Lumineers are a band that have always filled my heart with a special feeling of bliss; watching Kahan and Schultz sing “If We Were Vampires” by Jason Isabel live was an unmatched experience. Wesley Schultz lives in the Denver area; however, I never expected such a well-known and vocally unique artist from the indie/folk genre to be Kahan’s special guest.
Kahan filled Mission Ballroom with sounds of love, harmony, and electrifying versions of his already very popular songs. A lifetime of admiration for Kahan and his music radiated off of me and those around me. Including three of my dearest CC friends, as we belted out lyrics that resonated deep within us, despite none of us being able to call New England home. From the prairies and the mountains, the cities and the towns, and every Noah Kahan listener in between, it is evident that Kahan has captivated many young individuals with lyrics of pain, home, love, loss, and a New England upbringing.
“Honey, come over, the party’s gone slower / And no one will tempt you, we know you got sober / There’s orange juice in the kitchen, bought for the children / It’s yours if you want it, we’re just glad you could visit.”— “Orange Juice” by Noah Kahan.