Elder Island in The Grand Social, Dublin, on Tuesday 30th October 2018
Having impressed at this year’s inaugural All Together Now, Bristol’s Elder Island returned to Dublin for a sold-out show in The Grand Social, armed with a new batch of material from their eagerly awaited/long-overdue debut album which is finally set to be released this February.
What is strikingly unexpected about the trio’s live show is just how funky they are, with the bass and guitar often much more prominent in the mix than on their studio recordings.
Indeed, the individual musicians’ prowess is showcased, with David’s highly technical guitar licks a visual treat to see being rendered live. Luke’s bass, meanwhile, is notable not only for its ever-present groove, but also for the unusual use of a capo on the instrument throughout the set which undoubtedly gives the lower end a distinctive kick.
Elder Island’s meticulous nature is visible throughout as they are in constant discussion with their sound engineer to get the sonic blend exactly to their liking during the show.
There are some early irregularities with a malfunctioning lead causing some interference, but once this is sorted the show runs pretty smoothly for the group, apart from when singer Katy demands that they restart a song because one of the trio is slightly out of time.
It’s a credit to their professionalism that they won’t accept anything less than a high standard throughout the set. Even though nobody in the crowd seems to notice anything has gone astray, they aren’t prepared to just muddle through a substandard version of one of their tracks; a truly commendable trait.
Indeed, most people in attendance are far too busy dancing to notice any minor issues, with songs such as Don’t Lose, Bonfires and Key One making The Grand Social feel more like an illegal rave than a music venue.
However, at times Elder Island’s attention to detail can curtail them slightly. They constantly build up a bank of live samples throughout each track and on occasion this means that some tracks must be elongated to accommodate their modus operandi, and on occasion this can dampen their impact somewhat.
But when Elder Island click, boy do they click and the evening concludes with the rarest of things – a genuine encore which eventually sees the band running out of their own material and breaking out a cover of Crystal Waters’ Gypsy Woman (She’s Homeless), with it’s classic ‘90s dance refrain “la da dee, la dee da” finishing off the night with a fitting tribute to the early dance music which inspired group into being. Based on tonight’s evidence you can expect to find Elder Island back in Dublin soon in a much bigger venue.