Blake Noble
  • Sean Jewell
  • Blake Noble
Blake Noble began playing the yidaki (some call it a digeridoo) at age 13. He was taught by aboriginal elders near his home in Eastern Australia and handed down the privlige to play for others by them. Turns out he's a bang up 12 string guitar player as well. Saturday night at the Feedback Lounge in West Seattle Blake combined a whole bunch of his talents, playing percussive 12 string, digeridoo, and stompbox; sometimes looping the sounds to achieve the right rhythm for his one man band.

One thing Blake Noble doesn't do is sing, but with all the other work he does on stage, who needs it. In the dim light of Feedback's lounge, surrounded by a tastefully curated exhibit of music memorabilia, a wide range of ages clapped hands, tapped toes, and bobbed heads. During songs the crowd was in a trance, in between Blake would make them laugh. I was surprised. Anytime someone mentions 12-string guitar, or brings up another white dude interpreting roots, I expect a maelstrom of Roger Mcguinn interpretation and soporific technical masturbation. Blake's music has that good kind of unrefined, though, there is a subsistence—it surrounds you with sounds and knocks you down. Noble doesn't stop at riffing on aboriginal music, he weaves funk , blues and rock into songs, devouring influences for fuel. Blake plays the whole damn guitar too, bending notes until you're sure a string will pop, tapping, hammering on, and bending the fretboard until you're sure the neck will crack, and relentlessly drumming on the body of his guitar.

Blake Noble
"This whole guitar is held together by the tape you see on it" he laughed, before playing some more yidaki for the crowd. The low growl and frequency of the yidaki is a spine-tingling, primal sound that's hard to describe "The people who taught me to play it told me it's the sound of the Earth," Blake told the crowd "that's a big responsibility." he said, half in jest. But it's also difficult: after a brief intermission and ukulele work by friend Jon Yoon, Blake had willing crowd members step on stage and attempt playing the digeridoo. The result makes the instrument even more mystifying, as people could barely get a squeal out of the thing.

Blake Noble has been in Seattle for a while now, and I've been listening since he arrived, and am honest when I say I find his most impressive work to be each new thing he does. Check him out next at Conor Byrne January 9th with Planes On Paper and The Holy Broke.

Blake Noble
  • Sean Jewell
  • "This whole guitar is held together by the tape you see on it."