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Review: Islands, Haunted Summer, Roar

Islands review, Islands, Haunted Summer, Haunted Summer review, roar, live music, crescent ballroom, nick thorburnLast night’s Islands, Haunted Summer, Roar show at Crescent Ballroom was full of highs and lows.

Roar started the evening on a high note, playing a more lively and conversational set than I’ve ever witness from the band. Between songs, the members covered important talking points such as 90’s music and Collective Soul. They talked a lot with the crowd, which at that point seemed to be full of their friends, and played songs from I Can’t Handle Change and I’m Not Here to Make Friends. At one point, lead Owen Evans asked the audience to vote, by raising their hands, if they wanted to hear a track called “The Comfort of a Laugh Track” or a song called “Christmas Kids.” Everyone who voted was seemingly in favor of both songs to which Evans said, “those are my friends.”

Haunted Summer performed next and took it down an octave. The Los Angeles four piece played a set more subtle than the acts they were placed between, but still stood out. I kept mentally noting the parallels between Haunted Summer and Tennis, Beach House and Cults. Still, the band is far more dreamy and psychedelic than those acts. Despite the chatter from some of the concertgoers, who apparently rendered the set as background music, the band still played with a quiet confidence. Watching each of the members perform was like watching them during an extremely intimate moment. They seemed more transfixed by the music than the audience, which made for less interaction with the crowd. I didn’t mind because the music was good.

Islands review, Islands, Haunted Summer, Haunted Summer review, roar, live music, crescent ballroom

Islands review, Islands, Haunted Summer, Haunted Summer review, roar, live music, crescent ballroom

Read about Islands’ performance and see photos from the set, below…

Islands review, Islands, Haunted Summer, Haunted Summer review, roar, live music, crescent ballroom I saw Islands perform at Crescent Ballroom in February 2012. The show was good, but doomed from the beginning when someone decided it was a good idea to set up benches in the standing area. The result was fans sitting down during the set and Nick Thorburn playing Footloose‘s Ren MacCormack, trying to coax them out of their seats to dance. This time around Islands, still curated by the attention-grabbing frontman Thorburn, came with a high-energy set that was difficult to defy. The band played a set list (see here) that spanned its discography, from encore and show closer “Swans (Life After Death)” off 2006’s Return to the Sea to “Death Drive” on 2013’s Ski Mask. Thorburn even dedicated “Don’t Call Me Whitney, Bobby” to a Phoenix fan who passed away after a battle with cancer, and shared “Snowflake,” a track he said was just a few days old.

At moments, the show didn’t feel like a show. Maybe I’ve lost touch with how these things go, I’m getting old, there’s a new protocol for concerts in 2014, or Islands fans were just making up for 2012’s downer. There was a lot of chanting, most notably the “MVP” for Nick Thornburn and “Islands,” during the set and not as a woo for an encore. Phones got in on all the action, too. So many of the concertgoers had their phones out texting, photographing and taking video, and surprisingly, Thorburn embraced it (taking one fan’s phone and recording himself and bandmates on stage before handing it back, getting up close to the phone camera of another concertgoer and then playfully blocking the lens out with his finger).

Islands and Thorburn had a hold on the audience. It’s easy to see why, frontman Thorburn is everything. He plays and performs great music, can strut his stuff on the stage like it’s everyone’s business, and interacts with the audience. Even when a fan in the front row tried to be cheeky by asking, “what’s your guys’ name again?” after a song, Thorburn responded, “The Fuckheads” and the show went on, without a hitch.

Islands review, Islands, Haunted Summer, Haunted Summer review, roar, live music, crescent ballroom

Islands review, Islands, Haunted Summer, Haunted Summer review, roar, live music, crescent ballroom

Islands review, Islands, Haunted Summer, Haunted Summer review, roar, live music, crescent ballroom

Islands review, Islands, Haunted Summer, Haunted Summer review, roar, live music, crescent ballroom

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