Future Islands at The Southern Café and Music Hall, Charlottesville, VA, March 23, 2014 | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Friday, November 15th, 2019  

Future Islands

Future Islands at The Southern Café and Music Hall, Charlottesville, VA, March 23, 2014,

Mar 25, 2014 Bookmark and Share


It's been a pretty great month for Future Islands. It started with a now-viral performance on Letterman, followed by a buzz-worthy string of shows at SXSW (including our own showcase), and now they're kicking off their cross-country tour to support their latest album, Singles, which dropped this week. This is their moment, and they are enjoying every minute of it.

I've been looking forward to Future Islands catching on since I first stumbled upon one of their early psychedelic YouTube videos in 2007 (yeah, I know, that's such a music blog clichébut there's not a lot of bands I get to pull this card with, so indulge me), and I couldn't be more excited to see interest in these guys grow so rapidly. They deserve it, too. Singles is a great record, and perfectly represents everything they've done so far while propelling them forward.

It's interesting to see a band in such a position live. The Southern in Charlottesville is a small, dark, basement venue. It's intimate, but the room was quickly filled with fans eager to get a glimpse of Samuel Herring's signature stage moves. I can't imagine Future Islands will be playing gigs this small for much longer, and the realization of this fact wasn't lost on anyone in the room. There were enough people who knew every word to the songs from Singles-which didn't even see an official release until two days after the show-that the audience's singing was loud enough to be in unison with Herring's.

And then there was Herring, himself. Anchored by his impressively stoic bandmates, Herring gyrated and thrust his arms toward the audience, imploring them to understand where his songs come from. During "Before the Bridge," Herring dropped to inches in front of audience members' faces, giving them a glimpse into his fierce gaze while begging them, "do you believe in love? Then hold your tongue." His depth and sincerity is matched only by his unrelenting energy. After a few songs, he steps aside to "do something a little crazy," and starts rolling up the carpet onstage to give himself some traction. It wasn't really that crazy, but certainly necessary with the kind of dance moves that followed. At this point, the crowd has likely viewed the Letterman performance enough times to anticipate all the cues during "Seasons (Waiting On You)," and they responded gleefully when he dropped to a crouch, yanked his shirt, and growled "'cause I've been hanging on to you-ou-ou." During the pre-encore closer, "Long Flight," Herring reached down into his throat to pull out some metaphorical feeling that he wanted the crowd to latch onto, while he offered his twisted hand along with the refrain "it's 'cause you needed a hand." Each movement was delivered with raw passion and a sincerity that was welcomed with equal enthusiasm and gratitude. 

Charlottesville was the perfect venue to kick off this tour. Nearly equal distance from their home in North Carolina, and the Baltimore scene where they evolved into their current form, the small, southern, and warmly eclectic city represented the optimistic future of this band while paying tribute to the south, a landscape and lifestyle that inspires so much of their subject matter and lyrics. This is exactly the kind of place they began, but like their name implies, Future Islands is ready to occupy a new place in this world. I was glad to see them off.




Comments

Submit your comment

Name Required

Email Required, will not be published

URL

Remember my personal information
Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

There are no comments for this entry yet.