Talk about a last minute show. You see, this show was originally going to be at a completely different venue- Jerky's Bar in Providence. I believe they only recently started booking shows, and boy does it show. Apparently when Islands arrived in Providence earlier in the day, no one was at Jerky's. The owners had skipped town without any prior notification. Thus Islands were in Rhode Island for a show, yet had no place to put on the show. What a shitty situation. Miraculously, just hours before the scheduled start time, the band found a new venue - Firehouse 13. I had never been to the Firehouse before, but was aware of its existence. A concert venue / art space converted over from an old Firehouse, it had a distinct charm that made it a great place to see a show. Unfortunately due to the last minute venue switch, the crowd at the show was seriously limited. I'd doubt that there were any more than 40 people in attendance. This along with the venue size made it a very intimate show.
The show opened with a band named Steel Phantoms. I was very impressed by their set. The band were clearly talented musicians and played together very tightly. They kept my attention throughout, and I could see them getting much bigger in the future. One of the best openers I've seen in quite awhile. Islands came on next, and played a great abliet a bit short set. I had seen them once before, in 2008 on their Arm's Way tour. That show was at the Middle East in Boston, and obviously had a much greater number of attendees. It was certainly near capacity. However, this show was the better of the two. In addition to a more varied setlist, the band was more energetic and played stronger than before. One thing I did miss though was the presence of a violin player. Some of the older material, especially "The Arm" is pushed to another level with violin. Despite the much smaller audience, Nick Thorburn seemed to be in better spirits, and was very engaged with the audience. At one point he even entered the crowd to sing alongside various audience members, myself included. Though the material focused most heavily on their last album, Vapours, songs from all three albums were played, including three new tracks. One song was even premiered live for the very first time. The band played for just under an hour, without an encore. Though their closer, "Swans (Life After Death)" was the highlight of the night, it would have been nice to hear a few more songs. Regardless, this show was excellent and everybody seemed to leave satisfied.
Here's a recording of the show I made using an Olympus LS-10. Though there's some muddiness from being up so close, it generally sounds quite good. Enjoy!
Recording: Islands - Live @ Firehouse 13 - 6-29-10
1. Switched On
3. No You Don't
6. New Song
7. Tender Torture
8. New Song
9. The Arm
10. New Song
11. Rough Gem
12. Don't Call Me Whitney, Bobby
13. Swans (Life after Death)