As their secret set during Death By Audio’s final week was well worth the freezing cold wait around the block, so too was the freezing cold walk to Terminal 5 for Future Island’s second sold out show this past Friday. The sheer charisma and dedication of the band, specifically lead singer Samuel T Herring, is astounding. And while following such an intimate, emotional show at Death By Audio should be a difficult feat, Future Islands really only one-upped themselves. These guys have been playing together for 8 years and the emotion they still bring to their live show is uncanny.
There were moments I laughed, moments I swooned, moments I felt tears welling up in my eyes, and moments of awe as the emotive synth-pop filled the 3,000 capacity venue, captivating many, and inspiring movement in others. It was a powerful performance. You certainly don’t see bands that genuinely animated, that excited to totally exhaust themselves on stage, very often. My heart swells watching them, especially thinking about seeing them five years ago in a dingy church-turned-venue lovingly called Jesus Camp in Baltimore, and how far they’ve come in such a short period of time.
As you may know, Terminal 5 doesn’t have the best sight lines from the floor, so I found the first balcony to be the best vantage point for Herring’s now-world-famous dance moves, which he supplied amply. He jumped, he kicked, he slid, he crawled for Christ’s sake. I’m pretty sure he did that Russian squat dance at one point, during a song. There was plenty of his signature chest-thumping, fist-throwing and growling, as he powered through a set list mostly made up of Singles tracks with sprinklings of their Thrill Jockey releases On The Water and In Evening Air. The 1-2-3 punch of “Back in the Tall Grass,” “Sun in the Morning,” and “A Dream of You and Me” was certainly enough to pump everyone up who are only familiar with Singles, but it didn’t stop there. They then launched into “Walking Through That Door” and “Balance,” which, while from 2010 and 2011, respectively, should make true fans out of attendees in the crowd who came based on hype alone. Both are propulsive and infectiously fun to dance to. After those rock-solid opening tracks, the dancing didn’t cease.
From my position by the stage, it was incredible witnessing the support the crowd was giving Samuel T. Herring and his band, who play mostly with heads down, allowing Herring the full spotlight. Intermittent pauses were met with whoops and screams, only increased when Herring would say something like “Well, fuck, let’s keep this going!” continuing the set at an impressive speed. My only objection to this is that I could have stayed there all night watching them. And the fact that they didn’t close with “Seasons (Waiting on You)” says a lot about how much more they have to give than an awesome late night TV performance (don’t get me wrong the song rules). “Spirit” was a wonderful choice. Check out the full set list below.
Future Islands continue touring the US through March 13th (dates), after which they head over to Europe. Then they’ll be back in New York in June to play Governor’s Ball ! Weekend tickets for that are on sale now, individual day tickets to follow.
Back in the Tall Grass
Sun in the Morning
A Dream of You and Me
Walking Through That Door
Before the Bridge
A Song for Our Grandfathers
Seasons (Waiting on You)
Inch of Dust