Elder Island bring light to Fonda Theatre

Elder Island Fonda 2022 mainbar

UK electro-folk trio Elder Island brought their A-game to the Fonda Theatre on Friday night.

They were one of my favorite discoveries of the pandemic and it was quite a delay to seeing them in person. They were set to play November 28 of last year at the Fonda, but the pandemic postponed their North American tour. Finally, I got my chance to see the three-piece on Friday.

Touring in support of last year’s excellent full-length record Swimming Static, Elder Island consists of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Katy Sargent, Luke Thornton on bass/drums/guitar/keys, and David Havard on guitar/keys/bass/drums. The group uses a lot of live looping of just about every instrument, including Sargent’s powerful vocal ability.

Playing about an hour’s worth of material, they leaned heavily into the new record, with “Queen of Kings” being the biggest dance party of the bunch. The layers just kept building and building to a crescendo on almost every song. They didn’t play much from their first record The Omnitone Collection from 2019, but they did play one of my all-time favorites “Kape Fear”, another highlight.

A barefoot Sargent was playful and exuberant for the duration of the performance, dancing and singing like a powerhouse frontwoman. She was buoyed by her two bandmates Thornton and Havard, who did an excellent job of keeping pace.

This was a pit stop for the band before they played Lightning in a Bottle Festival and a show in Oakland. I’m hopeful they’ll get some festival dates in the States in 2023. The show wasn’t sold out but it was full of excited fans who brought their dancing shoes.

Photos by Justin Higuchi