06.27.10 | Islands | Music Hall of Williamsburg

For the last night of the Northside Festival, I attended the show at Music Hall of Williamsburg. The first band was Steel Phantoms, a local act (which doesn't really mean anything when local means Brooklyn). I thought that their overall performance was rather stiff, the only one with any character being the drummer, Aaron Harris, who did double duty playing with his former band, Islands. Though they clearly had strong compositional skills, the vocal line in most songs fell flat. It didn't help that one vocalist sounded like the Killers' frontman, and the other vocalist sounded like the lead singer of NoFX. I think they were trying to do too much musically, and thus ended up sounding disjointed.

Active Child:

On the other hand, the second band, Active Child, was really bizarre and clearly thought they were better than they actually were. It all started when a grown-ass man started playing a half-size harp, shredding as it if were a guitar. Well it certainly would've sounded better on a guitar. It didn't help that he burst into an operatic falsetto aria. The male falsetto is an ambitious thing to accomplish successfully, and only a few can pull it off (Mercury, Valli, Jackson, to name a few). Needless to say Active Child fell flat (how do you like that musical pun!) So we have a man playing the harp, singing opera, and all this on top of a drum machine. I can't fathom that no one, at any point in their career, ever stopped them and said, really? You seriously are going to go out and sell this music? I had hoped that Active Child would give up the Madame Butterfly after a few songs, but he trilled like a canary through his
entire set. I was not the only one that was relieved when they left the stage.

Islands:

Finally, after much anticipation, Islands took to the stage. I was looking forward to seeing them, more so because I like lead singer Nick Thorburn's previous band, The Unicorns (now defunct sadly) much more. But a band is 75% the lead singer, so I naturally took a liking to Islands. Thorburn, who goes by the moniker Nick Diamonds, is a modern day Bowie, in sound and stature. They played the requisite hits from new album Vapours like "No You Don't" and the title track. I was also pleased to hear songs from the only album I own, Arm's Way, including "Creeper" and "The Arm". They also debuted live a few songs from former albums. Since this band seems to go through a lot of line-up changes, I am happy to have been able to see them in this incarnation and look forward to seeing what Thorburn dreams up next.

And now, the crazy music video for "No You Don't" starring Michael Cera.
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Whitney
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July 28, 2010 at 1:26 AM ×

What you wrote reminds me of my love for Something Corporate/Jack's Mannequin/Andrew McMahon.

Congrats bro Whitney you got PERTAMAX...! hehehehe...
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