Elder Island bring their oozing rhythms to Headrow House

The build-up to a gig is always made more enticing by the first sight of a fully-equipped stage, revealing the numerous tools that are due to move bodies and stimulate senses. The plethora of electronics and synthesizers laid out in full glory was, therefore, a strong indicator that Elder Island would provide an evening of delightful shakes and pulsations.

The show begins with support act Small Hours brooding through their opening song ‘Vertigo’, before unfurling the head-bopping beats of ‘Second Nature’. Beneath the melismatic female vocals arise prodding guitar swells and incisive electronics which scatter across the venue in melded textures – a suggested marriage between soul and Nintendo.

Grooves soon shift into the hands of Elder Island, where they become most arousing. Out of the slowly-building layers of weaving cello melodies and squelching guitar riffs protrude the hip-swaying kicks of ‘Bonfires’. Whilst rhythms ooze their way off of the grid for temporary instances of retreat, they are reeled back into the mix with greater exhilaration and impetus – the result a euphoric intersection between elation and intimacy.

Yet such intimacy and passion from the band is often disparaged by a small pocket within the audience that feels the need to constantly talk through the set’s most understated moments, as if the main aim is to unnerve those which one pays to see. “This one’s a banger!” I hear you shout – aye, it is, so how about you shut up and listen to it then?


Despite the lack of much-deserved courtesy from certain individuals, Elder Island propel through the rest of the set with great animation. Flowing through ‘Bamboo’ before closing with ‘The Big Unknown’, the liquid guitar hooks and goading bass lines end the show with a climax of liberating body-shaping and propulsion.


Kieran Blyth

Photo Credit: The Independent