It was the 2nd night of Future Islands’ double feature at the Observatory North Park. After the amazing electronic artist Dan Deacon played, Future Islands took to the stage. The synthpop band from Baltimore played tightly and performed mostly numbers from 2014’s Singles. However, there were new songs like “The Chase” featured and older tracks like “Tin Man.”
In addition to their perfect performance, it is important to note how genuine and down to earth the group was.
Although Future Islands became huge after their performance on Letterman last year, they are still humble. They sound checked their own instruments instead of having roadies do it. It was cool to see that they didn’t direct line in their amps through a PA–they miked them. Future Islands didn’t make a dramatic entrance to kick off the set–they just launched into it after sound check. No nonsense with this band!
As expected, front man Sam Herring had lots of stage antics. He did his low to the ground side shuffle, grinding, intense facial expressions and more. His stage presence is raw, emotive and genuine. It’s refreshing to see as most bands try too hard or are self conscious. His voice ranged from a gravely croon to a gut wrenching scream any hardcore band would approve of.
To everyone’s surprise, Herring dove into the front row at one point to break apart a fight. He successfully stopped it telling them “Come on, guys. Let’s just have fun.”
Keyboardist Gerrit Welmers provided the driving force of the Future Islands sound. His fingers flew over the keys playing complicated synth parts.
Bassist William Cashion played a rhythmic bass that suited the synth parts of Future Islands’ music. Like Welmers, Cashion remained stoic, allowing Herring to front the band without distractions from his backing band.
Future Islands’ light show and stage setup was simple but they let lose when playing their most well known song, “Seasons (Waiting on You).” The silver curtain behind them rose to reveal large stage lights. At the chorus, a flashy light show commenced, adding to the drama of the song.
They closed out the set with a couple encore numbers including “Beach Foam” off their 2008 album Wave Like Home. We were sad to see them finally walk off the stage.
Overall, Future Islands’ performance was inspiring and refreshing. If only other bands could be like this…