Sunday, April 23, 2006

Islands and Why? @ Avalon, 22 April 06

Caught Islands and Why? Saturday night at Avalon (formerly Limelight, aka Slimelight).

I haven't been to the old church in a few years since mook-disco isn't really my thing, but I have seen a few great shows there back in the day...the best was probably an amazing Pop Will Eat Itself show during a New Music Seminar, during Michael Alig's Party Monster reign of that joint.

Why? is a three-piece from San Diego (via Cincinnati), who sound to me like a cross between They Might Be Giants and Wolf Parade...but more indie than quirky. They played a decent set of soft/loud/soft/loud songs, and of particular note was the fantastic drumming of beatkeeper Josiah Wolf, who has a very similar style to "Animal" from the Muppets' Electric Mayhem. On several songs he played his drum kit with one hand and a vibraphone with the other. Pretty amazing. The kids loved 'em.

Speaking of kids, the Avalon floor was packed with 'em by the time Islands came out. I had no idea the band were popular enough to fill that hall, but they did.

They hit the stage in their all-whites, looking like a sportier Polyphonic Spree, and played most of the new album, Return To The Sea and a couple new ones for good measure. I enjoy the new disc tons, but to really appreciate Islands, you have to see and hear the band dynamic in person. Nick Diamonds is a formidable frontman, and the rest of the band are a hoot to watch as well.

Since Avalon's got an early curfew for band shows so the lucrative party people can come in afterward and buy bottle service, the band ended playing on stage just after 10:30, but lead the crowd out a side door, onto the sidewalk in the chilly drizzle, and around the block for a drums and recorder fueled jam-line. When the mob got back around to Avalon, the door people looked totally pissed-off and refused re-entry to everyone, including most band members! A full set, an extra outdoor set, and a little exercise on a Saturday night? Now that's value.

Ear Farm has an entire Islands show in mp3 form from Philly late last year.

Islands - "Rough Gem" mp3 buy

Why? - "Rubber Traits" mp3 buy

No comments: