When Future Islands put on a live show they never seem to disappoint. Having watched online their various mesmerizing performances, and having continually listened to their impressive back catalogue, the Baltimore-based band’s arrival into Newcastle was certainly not one I was going to miss. I’d previously seen the band this summer in Hyde Park, which had only added to my eager anticipation.
Taking to stage earlier than scheduled, ‘Singles’ hit ‘Back In The Tall Grass’ opens the set, laying down the silky grooves and sharp drumbeats the band are renowned for. The opener’s lyrics are reminiscent of home and distant memories, providing an insight to the bands origins and purpose. By this point, the middle-aged crowd (18 years old, I’m probably one of the youngest here) are ecstatic, replicating Herring’s graceful moves. Do they know they have work in the morning? What makes Future Islands stand out from the rest is Herring’s humble and honest approach to engaging with the crowd. Expressing his delight at visiting Newcastle and repeatedly thanking all in attendance for coming along shows how much this really means to them.
Tonight’s gig is a showcase of the band’s career so far. Having recently played their 1,000th gig, Future Islands has come a long way since its formation in 2006. ‘Before The Bridge’ and ‘An Apology’ throwback to the band’s earlier material before personal favourite ‘Doves’ is met with the singer’s vigorous silky-smooth hip shaking to coincide with the electro-funk beats. This enables perfectly executed flow between their past and more recent material. The Baltimore-based band takes the audience on a journey through their years of hard work, on and off the road.
The summer may be drawing to and end but this doesn’t stop the frontman sporting a Hawaiian style flowery shirt as he repeatedly thumps his chest in emotional defiance. Standing out from the calm and collected nature of the rest of the band, Herring has the audience in the palm of his hand as they watch on in excitement trying, and failing, to replicate his trademark moves. The emotional ‘Song For Our Grandfathers’ and ‘Light House’ sees the band hit their particular sound with precision. Unsurprisingly, it is the hit ‘Seasons (Waiting On You)’ where Herring’s vocal delivery is at its peak. The crowd quickly respond to the soaring chorus in reply to Herring’s gravelly roars in raucous fashion. Dripping in sweat, there’s no stopping him as he twists and turns his body in every direction right up until the last chord.
The penultimate track in the three-song encore again travels back to the band’s roots as the energetic ‘Vireo’s Eye’ gives the near sell-out audience the chance to dance once more. The end of the show is met with ‘Wave Like Home’ single ‘Little Dreamer’, full of beat, synth and emotion, it is one to “go out into the night to”, a fitting end to the night’s proceedings. A flawless performance from the band throughout provided a night never to forget.
Photographer – Russell Poad
I am an avid music fan and have a propensity for writing about my favourite genres of music. I hope to pursue a career in Journalism and am off to university this year. My musical taste is about as extensive as the Amazon River.