After recently supporting Amber Run on their UK tour and then Palace on their EU one, ISLAND have become accustomed to performing in front of large crowds. So walking into their biggest headline show to date, at London’s famed nightclub Heaven, there was a lot riding on the night to be a success. Selling the 1500-cap venue out in advance was a huge vote of confidence, so in the end it was just a matter of plugging in and delivering a gloriously pleasing live performance, and this is something that the four piece are masters of.
The crowd were intense from the get go with ISLAND blissfully drawing out their bassline intro before appearing on stage, leaving us to wait eagerly for the sound of Rollo Doherty’s seductively husky vocals.
After what felt like an exceptionally long wait, the boys finally kicked it all off, opening with a divine new tune. The melody started off with a powerful bassline and drum beat, releasing a vigorous feeling that made it impossible for you to not want to tap your toes along and as soon as Doherty shared his alluringly distinctive voice. Opening with a new song that fans aren’t accustomed to could be thought of as a risky move, but it definitely paid off. The crowd was enthralled by the song from the launch of the first strum of the guitar and it was the perfect opener.
Without stopping the background melody, the boys then went straight into ‘Girl’ as their second song of the night, with Doherty shouting a brief hello to the crowd before he started. The tune brought the tempo of the room up even higher as people all around stood singing along.
‘Waves’ was up next and the crowd settled down to the start of this one, taking it all in. Until Doherty broke formation to introduce his band mates, James Wolfe and Toby Richards, to the audience, making the crowd go wild with hysterical screams. Resuming the music, Doherty starts to sing the recognisable and breathtakingly beautiful lyrics of the chorus, to which the entire room sang along.
A sea of red lights flashed throughout the room as the boys started to play ‘I’ve Been Searching’ and the audience joyfully swayed along to the stunningly captivating tune. A change to the room then appeared as the lighting went darker, the ambience around became more still. A plain black screen with crystal clear white lights,revealing the word ‘ISLAND’ shone in the background. The guys started to play ‘Come With Me’ and it was obvious that this was a favourite of many around. People were peacefully singing and swaying, until, Doherty decided to introduce guitarist Jack Raeder this time, once again sending the crowd into a screaming frenzy.
The phenomenal four piece then presented to us another new song. Once again, the atmosphere changed as purple lights shone all around, the audience mellowed out to listen to the infectious new song and with the chorus being easily memorable and captivatingly tuneful, it was easy to notice that the audience grew accustomed to this song very quickly.
They continued on with a tune from their latest EP and quite possibly one of their most recognised songs – ‘All You Ever Needed Was Love’. Once again Doherty delivered the song with his intense, throaty and desirable vocals filling the room with exhilarating and inspiring vibes. To match this soaring sentiment, Doherty went onto reveal the incredibly exciting news that just before they came out on stage, the band had signed their first album deal and as you can imagine, the crowd went wild with happiness.
Two new songs followed, the first, a stunningly romantic delight that spoke the lyrics: “I wanna touch your skin,” Doherty’s soft and delicate delivery sent shivers sprinting down my spine. The latter offset the serene mood of the former bringing with it zealous, burning orange lights, and a fiery presence. Yielding a bubbly and mesmeric quality, the song’s charmingly pleasing melody filled the room in a passionate warmth. To top it off, Wolfe delivered some mad dancing skills, incorporating that sexy head of hair of his by quite literally, whipping his hair back and forth.
The joyful rhythm of the night continued through in appearances of early releases ‘Dreaming Of’ and ‘Nighttime Written Blues’, where the spirit of the crowd reached even loftier heights as the lyrics began to mirror the atmosphere.
Alas, the show came to an end, but the crowd wasn’t having any of it. Frantic screams for ‘more’ filled the room to which the the boys eventually succumbed, coming back out for an encore. They gave us the delightful performance of my personal favourite ‘Stargazer’, followed on by ‘Spotless Mind’. Once again, the audience rapturously sang and danced along to the music allowing the aura of the room to fill up with joy and beauty. It was certainly an amazing night to remember and I for one, can’t wait for more tunes from the exceptional four piece – ISLAND.
ISLAND will release a live and acoustic EP on 12th May via Beatnik Creative. Pre-order on iTunes here.