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Live Review: The Islands at the Admiral Bar

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The Islands took to the stage for the first time in two years to perform a special Secret Gig in Glasgow on the 12th of November, following the success of the bands debut album, Easier Now, in August of 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the band has been unable to perform their Traditional Music/Indie style record. The Up and Coming band have been the subject of growing social media hype since the release of their album. 

The Secret Gig was held in Glasgow’s Admiral Bar, the perfect venue for a small but powerful crowd of fans. The atmosphere was electric, the combination of the online buzz about the concert and the first performance of top songs such as the album’s lead single, Spanish For Slave, creating an incredible energy.

The Secret Gig was supported by JR Green, who perfectly encompassed the energy of the evening, and performed spectacularly, considering it was their first concert in over three years.

The band opened up with a classic, Ghost, from the band’s previous Donald MacDonald & The Islands EP, named after the band’s previous name. The crowd was instantly engrossed in the performance, with frontman Donald MacDonald’s powerful voice starting the party. 

The band performed a combination of songs from their debut album, EP, and two unreleased songs.

Local roots inspired many of the songs, and MacDonald explained these roots throughout the gig. Including the inspiration for the albums title song, Easier Now, which was based on the life story of a man they met and the stories he told about his life and connections to Glasgow.

Another fan favourite, Struggling, got the crowd moving, following the band calling out the empty space in front of the stage in the intimate venue which was referred to as the “embarrassment circle”. A few brave fans broke through the circle and began to dance, and before long the entire venue had shifted forward.

Unreleased song, Keep me Standing, and album songs Spring in Siam and Lonely Where You Are were also performed, as well as an incredibly moving and raw version of Probably Will.

By this point the crowd was in full gear, and the night was not yet closed. Their performance of Fallen Leaves was my personal favourite, a stunning up-beat love song with quite frankly, the most passionate bridge within the Trad/Indie sphere of music. 

The Islands followed tradition to close the show, performing Row Too Close, an unreleased song they frequently perform as the last song. Concluding the final song, frontman Donald MacDonald jumped off the stage and handed CD’s of their debut EP. which is not available to buy any more, to some lucky members of the crowd, including myself.

Overall, an electric gig with a powerful band was the perfect return to live music. The Islands are a small but mighty force, and are destined to do great things. This is definitely a band to keep your eye on, and their live performances are not to be missed.

Featured Image: The Islands

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