LIVE: Elder Island @ Soup Kitchen | 31.10.18

WORDS BY CIERA LITTLEFORD        PHOTO BY DAVID THOMAS SMITH

Much of the buzz around Elder Island at the moment seems to be trying to pin down their unique feel, aiming to condense it to a just a genre or two. But that’s what’s so exciting about this Bristol-based trio – their eclectic mix of bass, loops, and funky guitar riffs, with some cello thrown in for good measure produces a vibrant sound that makes for easy listening and an even better live experience.


As their set begins in the Northern Quarter’s Soup Kitchen, it’s clear from the off that it’ll be an energetic, lively gig. The crowd doesn’t stop moving throughout, and neither does the band, because it’s hard to keep still when the sound of hit ‘Bamboo’ with its insanely catchy melody and beats fills the room.

Elder Island’s debut album ‘The Omnitone Collection’ is due for release in February 2019, and the band play a few new tracks. It’s usually a hit-or-miss situation at any gig, however, every single song is met with raucous applause. The trio don’t slow down once, turning the venue into a disco with a dreamy twist with their relentless beats and mesmerising synths.

‘Black Fur’, from 2016’s ‘Seeds in Sands’ EP, proves to be the climax of the night. It starts as a slow burn but as a crowd favourite, it has everyone singing every word through a massive grin, standing up on the benches that line the edges of the room.

Katy, David, and Luke truly are a dynamic trio onstage – adding to the rich synth sounds, singer Katy’s vocals are an instrument on their own. It’s possible that her voice is part of what sets the band apart from some generic electronic bands around right now; it’s got a kind of sophistication and luxuriance to it that sounds just as refreshing live as on the record. It comes into play particularly on tracks ‘Hotel Beds’ and ‘Bonfires’, which hark back to the golden era of house music – confirmed when Katy gleefully tells us that there’s time for one more song, before the band launches into Crystal Waters classic ‘Gypsy Woman’. It’s a perfect fit for Elder Island, who tells the crowd they only really play it at festivals – and for a few minutes, we’re transported from a cold, drizzly October night to a sunny field in the height of summer.

Elder Island are a must-see. If you’re on the fence about seeing them on their current tour (supported by FAVELA and Dirty Nice), bite the bullet and get that ticket. They really know how to bring their hypnotic tunes to life and it’s tons of fun.

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