Thinking of seeing Future Islands? Take my advice – if you wear glasses, try to get some contacts. You’ll want them.
First, a little context: I’ve been wearing glasses since I was 16. I decided early on I didn’t much care for contacts, and for many years thought nothing of it. About 3 years ago, that opinion changed after I got kicked in the face by a crowd-surfer at a show, breaking my glasses in half (don’t worry, I wasn’t hurt much – only my pride). Subsequently, I picked up my first case of dailies a few weeks later. They’re very handy: suddenly I could see the band properly and dance my face off at the same time. I decided not to wear contacts for this show. It turned out that was an extremely poor decision.
Remember those things I mentioned that contacts let me do? See the band and dance like crazy? It turns out that both of those are things you really want to do at a Future Islands show. If you are at all familiar with the band’s music, the second one is pretty obvious: these are tunes that can make even the stillest, heaviest feet shuffle. Driving, innovative riffs from bassist William Cashion effortlessly fuse with the extraterrestrial atmosphere created by keyboardist Gerrit Welmers to generate consistently fabulous compositions.
But as a first-time attendee of a Future Islands show, I had no idea of the intimacy of lead singer Samuel T. Herring’s performance. The man bleeds raw emotion. Describing the event as a “concert” would be negligent; it was a performance. As he croons austere songs of love and loss, he dominates the stage, his eyes full of ferocity and vigour. This is a man who puts his heart and soul into every word he sings and lets the ebb and flow of the music drive his body. Whether he’s kneeling, head in hands, voice full of bitter rage, or locking eyes with you, telling you a story about how far he’ll go for love, his intensity never wavers.
Do not miss this show. And bring your contacts if you’ve got ‘em – You’ll thank me later.
Photos © Jamie Taylor//Cryptic Photography