The Band Islands Plays at Bowery Ballroom

Janice

Last night, Islands played at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City. In September, Islands released their third full length album, “Vapours” (the extra, “u” is there because they’re Canadian), and have been aggressively touring in conjunction with their album release.

As a general rule of thumb, white skinny leg trousers are a one-way ticket on the Camel Toe express. However, as lead singer Nick Diamonds (real name Nicholas Thornburn) graced the stage in fitted white trousers and a jeweled poncho rivaling a Karen O costume, he looked oddly…dapper.

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Lead singer Nick Diamonds. All photos by Mark Iantosca.

What sets an Islands live show above so many other acts filing through New York is that while the costume may be eccentric, it’s not there as a campy compensation for lacking music. Rather, the quirky dress enhances the performance as a fun complement to Islands’ moody dance-pop. The Islands’ music is pop music you wiggle and writhe to–not necessarily dance, dance to–because holy crap, it is so oddly, sexily smooth.

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No doubt the impeccable sound of the Bowery Ballroom had something to do with the quality of the performance; Islands was truly remarkable live, playing as a strong ensemble with Diamonds impeccably controlling his voice (a mix somewhere between Ben Gibbard, Colin Meloy and the Arctic Monkeys‘ Alex Turner).

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Wildly engaging his audience as he tilted the microphone stand over the heads of those leaning against the stage, stealing glasses and cups of beer to everyone’s uproarious delight, Diamonds is above all else an extremely musically talented entertainer. The confusing highlight of the night being when Diamonds snatched up someone’s…note-err…diary? Is that a pink, floral diary someone was writing in? Why do you have that open at a concert? Diamonds proceeded to sign the diary and return it the presumably mortified owner.

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Not the owner of the diary. (Above)

Island’s new album Vapours is available now via Anti.

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