Thursday, August 20, 2009

islands shows are like snowflakes...

no two are ever remotely similar -- and that's something to be said, especially about last night.
sure, it's cool when they change their outfits for the shows every few months, or when the set lists subtly change with a new album release, but what happened last night was a little more overwhelming than a change of clothes.
from what i had heard earlier in the month, i sensed that this show would be far different than anything i've ever experienced at an islands show.

i read that jamie thompson was back in the band (you know, the member that was also in the unicorns, and helped form islands, but he quit between the release of return to the sea and arm's way, so then he got a song written about him and how he left the band, and basically everyone was pissed at him? yeah ... him), and that he contributed a lot to the new album, vapours, due out on september 22nd, along with tracking all of the drums, but it wasn't quite clear to me whether he was just recording with them, or if he would be playing with them live as well.
nothing really clicked in my mind until a few minutes before we arrived at the bell house last night.
if jamie would be playing tonight, then what happened to aaron? would the other members still be there? does the new album even have violin or bass clarinet? i tried not to think about it but i would be forced to face the truth later that night.

but first we had to watch two other bands.
radical dads left me less than excited. i could've done without the girl's yelling, but whatever, i guess i didn't hate them. i wouldn't run out and buy their album or anything.

next up was das racist. at first, i was a little bit frightened by them, but then realized quickly that they were just three totally amusing dudes who were completely stoned. it was a rap comedy act, basically. i enjoyed them.

finally, after much anticipation, was the moment of truth.
two young boys in fairly formal attire, who looked strangely familiar, entered the stage, followed by who appeared to be jamie thompson. this was it. i was so baffled. nick then came out shortly after, wearing a satin, bedazzled cape. i want it.

i was overwhelmed with both confusion and awe. they opened with a song that was new to my ears, entitled "switched on." it was clear that people in the crowd already had a leak of the album, so they already knew every word.
at this point, i was still speechless, but flustered at the same time. it was true. there was no more aaron, and no more patrick, or patrice, and no more super chow brothers (oh how i'll miss sebastian's suave ways) and and and .... i was heartbroken. like, it's nice to see that jamie is back, but i honestly really miss the other members.
i think i would've been less upset if i had notice of the member change beforehand, but i've come to realize that the only thing constant, the only thing that is truly forever about islands, is nick. nick is islands. the rest have just been there to support his vision, nothing more, i suppose.

the first six songs they did were new, and to see despot waiting on the side of the stage for "whalebone" sent a huge sigh of relief through me. at least one thing is still the same, right?

they continued on with a few more new songs. it's a far far stretch from anything islands have done in the past. it's more similar to the unicorns, which makes sense considering jamie is back in the band, so they were bound to revert to catchier tunes and synths again. it was especially strange because arm's way was such a drastic move into a darker direction.
BUT! as i've said many times, any direction that nick thorburn takes his band is bound to be genius, because genius is all the man is capable of.
but anyways, they also did a few other old ones, "don't call me whitney, bobby" and "creeper" ... basically the only two songs that don't REQUIRE violin or bass clarinet. so sad. i had even been hyping myself up by doing the clapping thing that the crowd does during "rough gem" that morning, and they didn't play it.

they did "swans" for their encore, and while not as epic as it usually is, it was still amazing. there's no way that such a superb song could be done badly by them. it would be a sin.

i left the bell house, still confused. but thoroughly satisfied by yet another fantastic show from nick thorburn and company.
oh, and we realized that the other guys in the band, geordie and evan, are from that band, the magic that have opened for islands and human highway before. talented kids, they should be honored to be playing with one of the most talented musicians of our time. just saying.


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