Review: Fang Island and Delicate Steve

Fang Island played for the third time this year in Madison to a large enthusiastic crowd at the High Noon Saloon hell bent on spreading the band's three prong guitar attack among the uninitiated. The Brooklyn-based quintet we’re genuinely excited to be in Madison and have been touring for almost a year behind their breakthrough self-titled debut album.

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Fang Island is guitarist Jason Bartell, bassist Michael Jacober, guitarist Chris Georges, guitarist Nicholas Andrew Sadler, and drummer Marc St. Sauveur. Building on incendiary guitar riffs, cannon drums and forceful bass, the Fang Island repertoire draws audiences into an anthem-like groove where shaking heads and pounding fists rule the party. Infectiously addicting guitars is the best way to describe the Fang Island experience. This is a rock n roll band! The crowd wanted the band's signature hoodies on display and guitarist Jason Bartell obliged the request by pulling the light blue sweatshirt over his head while striking a dramatic guitar god pose.

The last time we saw the band was last summer after their Madison Union Terrace show. Just before they were about to open for the Stone Temple Pilots who handpicked the band for several dates on their reunion tour. Fang Island live shows are a nonstop energy marathon built on Red Bull and guitar heroics. You don’t have to worry about these guys standing still during a set!

Fang Island has taken the signature classic rock guitar oriented dynamics of the 70’s and 80’s, merging indie rock individualism with progressive rock musicianship, all while putting an original stamp on the proceedings. The band sticks out in a sea of heavier indie acts that don’t have the chops to pull off what Fang Island does every night. Unlikely fans are coming out of the woodwork in support of the band. Even professional partier Andrew W.K. is an admitted fan collaborating with the band on “Patterns on the Wall” off the new album. Andrew hosted their record release party in Brooklyn earlier this year.

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The set list was varied. From the frenzied “Daisy,” to the encore of “Amazing” and Mariah Careys “Be My Baby” complete with intricate guitar work and sprite vocals that showed a different side of Fang Island.

Hanging out on the club’s outdoor patio after the show, guitarist Chris Georges and Drummer Marc St. Sauver say the band will take some time off around the holidays to recharge their batteries and begin work on a new album early next year. Many of the soon-to-be recorded tracks were played in the set tonight. Opening the show was New Jersey’s Delicate Steve, an instrumental outfit centered around Kettle drum chants that throb and pulse through the evening air casting an almost hypnotic trance on listeners. The teaming of Delicate Steve and Fang Island on this tour made for a nice diversion from the influx of indie folk acts that have come through Madison recently.

One thing is for sure. Fang Island keeps building their audience one show at a time and the legions of fans are growing by leaps and bounds. Pass the Red Bull and guitars please!

Fang Island - Daisy
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Fang Island - Patterns on the Wall (featuring Andrew W.K.)
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