Alternative folk artist Noah Kahan performed at a sold-out amphitheater in Ridgefield, Washington on July 1st. Words and photos by Paige Fulkerson.

The Rv Inn and Style Resorts Amphitheater was Noah Kahan’s 36th stop on his We’ll All Be Here Forever North American Tour, with nearly every date sold out. The 18,000-capacity amphitheater was packed to the brim, and traffic delays stretched up to two hours. 

Kahan opened the show with his hit single “Dial Drunk.” The stage was set to look like a mountain range, with vines hanging down from the rafters up above. Kahan sported a brown suede jacket, a custom embroidered bandana, and two French braids, while the band wore matching blue two-piece sets. Following “Dial Drunk” were “New Perspectives” and “Everywhere, Everything.” Kahan was backed with five bandmates playing an impressive amount of instruments. Accompanying him were guitarist Noah Levine, bassist Alex Bachari, drummer Marcos Valles, Dylan Jones on the keys, and Nina de Vitry, who played the guitar, banjo, fiddle and violin.  

Given that Kahan signed his first record deal at the age of 18 in 2016, the sold-out crowd was highly impressive for the now 27-year-old. Early in the set, Kahan compared his crowd of 18,000 to a Mumford and Sons show, which I found hard to believe. Kahan has not only changed the folk music industry but has built a fan base unlike any other. Kahan is the soul and heart of his music, holding all the power within his voice and his guitar; he is truly one of a kind, incomparable to anyone before or after him.

The setlist continued with “False Confidence” from his 2019 album Busyhead, transitioning to “Forever.” “Forever” was easily my favorite performance of the night. A bright white spotlight shone on Kahan, painting him in an especially angelic way. During the previous songs, the crowd was almost as loud as Kahan himself, but during this song, the crowd was the quietest it had been all night. As I looked around, it was clear that everyone was crying. 

Before the sixth song, stagehands brought out chairs and family pictures for the band to perform several acoustic songs. As Kahan waited for the stage to be set, he read signs in the general admission pit. One sign read, “I’ll give you my first born if you play ‘Please,’’ to which Noah quickly replied, “Let me see your first born.” The fan lifted her baby, and Kahan responded, “I’ll consider it.” Kahan then attempted to trade bandanas with a fan but ultimately preferred his own. Kahan and his band played “Come Over” and “Godlight” acoustically before bringing back the electric guitars and drummer Valles.

Throughout the show, all five band members sang backup vocals for Kahan, but that did not hinder Kahan’s insanely powerful voice, nor the voices of 18,000 fans screaming every word to every song. I wholeheartedly believe the sold-out venue could be heard far outside the parking lot of the amphitheater. “She Calls Me Back,” “All My Love,” “Your Needs, My Needs,” “You’re Gonna Go Far,” and “Homesick” played before Kahan moved to a secondary stage in the middle of the 200 seated section. Here, Kahan stated that he wanted to be as close as possible to his fans and that this was his solution. Accompanied by thousands of phone flashlights, Kahan played “Growing Sideways” and “Best Friend” acoustically before returning to the mainstage.

 The set continued with “Call Your Mom,” “Orange Juice,” and “Northern Attitude.” Although written for Vermont, the Pacific Northwest crowd found “Northern Attitude” resonated with Washinton and Oregon. The crowd somehow sang louder than before during the song, and little bubbles floated down from the rafters, imitating snow during the summer show. 

Kahan and his band left for the encore as the venue lights flickered, causing immense suspense and screaming. As Kahan returned to the stage, the fans were louder than the music that played. Kahan blew kisses to the crowd before playing “The View Between Villages.” Kahan said, “Lets get sticky,” as the first chords of “Stick Season” began to play. I thought the crowd for “Northern Attitude” was the loudest, but I was proven wrong. The overflowing venue was almost as loud as Kahan himself, and only smiles were left once the show was over. 

Noah Kahan has brought a new alternative take to folk music and created a beautiful community of fans, none of whom could be more proud to call themselves a fan. Kahan will next play in Wheatland, California, at the Toyota Amphitheater on July 3rd before ending his North American tour in Boston, Massachusetts, for a sold-out show at Fenway Park on July 19th. If you haven’t already seen Noah Kahan, I highly suggest you do. The artist has been touring non-stop for the last couple of years, and I assume he is working on new music with a tour to follow. You’re bound to know at least one of his songs after his mainstream blow-up in 2022. The vibes are immaculate, and the music is even better. Get yourself to a Noah Kahan concert this summer before he starts selling out arena tours, which is soon to come. 

Photographer / Writer

Paige Fulkerson is a 35mm concert photographer and writer for Indie/Alt Magazine. Through Indie/Alt Mag, she expresses her unconditional love for live music and photography while learning and growing as she goes. Outside of Indie/Alt Mag,  she is a Journalism major with a concentration in Photojournalism and an Art minor at the University of Oregon. 🎞