Sunny afternoons in North London were made for great music and Island Records had a long and prestigious history to be shouting about at their 50th birthday party. However, it was the young guns that took the reins and showed what Island still have to offer 50 years after their original conception.
Despite there being two floors worth of music to sample, the tight schedule and even tighter space constrictions forced even the savviest of gig-goers to make a some tough decisions on who to see.
Upstairs, playing first were The Rumble Strips. After a shaky start they launched into a set of general hipster fare with the welcome addition of a sax and trumpet. In a pleasing touch, showing that Island have not forgotten their roots, all artists were required to cover a song from the Island Records back catalogue. The Rumble Strips chose to perform a well received version of 'Tease Me' by Chaka Demus & Pliers.
Next to take to the stage was Frankmusik. Later than originally billed and squeezing into an unfeasibly small timeslot, the stylish trio made the most of their time to shine. Romantically-minded and musically talented, Frankmusik's voice shocked with its elegant, feminine undulations that contrast strikingly with his look.
Soon after, we heard from ska group The King Blues. Inevitably focusing on material from recent album Save The World, Get The Girl, The King Blues might have strengthened their set with more than one of their older tunes. However, they proved that despite their recent dilution of style, they remain impressive live performers and the intimate setting suited their crowd interaction.
When you see a band gaffer taping all their equipment securely to the stage, you know that you'll be in for an explosive performance and Innerpartysystem did not disappoint. Letting loose with their own special mix of industrial, electro-metal, they jumped and thrashed through the crowd, spit and sweat flying from their jowls and writhing limbs. As the final band of the afternoon they delivered an eardrum shattering crescendo that did the label justice.
Low key and laid back, this birthday celebration, whilst perhaps charming in its own way, did not embody the festive spirit it was supposed to represent and showcased a reasonably mediocre selection of what the label has to offer. Hopefully their continued celebrations during the coming months will manage to shine a little brighter.