ISLAND / Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff | 22nd of May

ISLAND / Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff | 22nd of May

ISLAND cultivated a mesmerising performance and their enjoyment of performing was infectious. They put a lot of feeling into their gig, which furthered its visual quality. Their songs generally consisted of distorted electric guitar riffs which, paired with bass and drums, had a relaxed, dream-like quality.

Perhaps one of the best things about the gig was their interaction with each other and the audience, creating a sense of intimacy. Beginning with the popular Ride, the band grabbed the audience’s attention from the start. They continually interacted with each other enhanced their energy, and made the audience feel valued with their constant introductions and informal chatty tone. There was a real sense that the band members bounced off each other – the greatest example of this were when they were all standing together as they slowed down the ending of Come With Me. The crowd were very enthusiastic; at one point, a group even jumped onto the stage for the end of The Day I Die, which was one of the best received songs. The band handled this with grace and even let one of the boys sing the last note. They seemed genuinely appreciative of the audience.

Furthermore, Raeder, Wolfe and Richards all had solos, exhibiting their talent –  the focus wasn’t solely on Doherty. Despite this, Doherty’s voice remained to be one of the band’s main points of uniqueness – his gravelly and rich voice added soul, elevating the lyrics and overall performance of ISLAND. Their best performance was arguably Horizon, another of their more well-known songs. The soft tone of the drums and riffs at the beginnings was reminiscent of Half Moon Run, which suited Doherty’s voice perfectly. A small criticism of the band’s performance, up to a point, would’ve been that there wasn’t much variation or distinction between each song. However, this changed when the rest of the band left the stage for Doherty’s solo acoustic performance of Lilyflower. This really showcased his vocals and talent due to the more minimal broken chord backing, and his emotion added meaning to the beautiful lyrics, And oh, sweet lilyflower, where did you go? Been chasing that feeling since my first hello, and I’ll flicker and die, You will shimmer into sparks. The humming towards the end of the song was particularly poignant.

ISLAND’s joy of performing meant that they were compelling to watch, with a unique sound and a radiating charismatic energy.


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