The first time I met Future Islands was at the now defunct Baltimore DIY space Jesus Camp in 2010. I was playing a show with Adventure and Moss of Aura, the solo project of Gerrit Welmers from Future Islands. I still vividly remember the audience's unplanned yet naturally synchronized sway when Deem, from Moss of Aura's "Still Parade", started playing. Frontman Samuel Herring was in attendance on crutches, recovering (as he reminded me last week) from an injury sustained in the middle of performing as part of a live Dan Deacon show in Europe. Herring still finished the show.
The first time I actually saw Future Islands perform was a few months later. I played a show with them when they came through my hometown on tour with Lower Dens. Ask any fan or friend of Future Islands about them and you'll consistently hear the same two words: honest and hardworking. The hardworking part isn't supernatural — they were already four-year road warriors by that point. It's the confident honesty that's so special. Everyone in the audience felt like Herring was sharing a piece of time with just them, even if it was just for a moment. Sweat dripping, eyes locked. Each live song was a real performance without feeling calculated. To be so genuinely engaging in a live setting is hard work. I've been a fan ever since.
Jump forward 4 years to their (very) sold-out show at Doug Fir in Portland, OR on 4/5. The night was a Baltimore lovefest, with the bubbly-ambient drones of Jason Urick kicking it off and the frenetic Ed Schrader's Music Beat playing next. Which reminds me: go see Ed Schrader's Music Beat immediately — total surprise of the night.
Denny Bowen (formerly of Double Dagger, currently of Roomrunner) is on live drums for Future Islands this tour. The stoic precision of Bowen, Welmers, and bassist William Cashion provided excellent contrast to the tirelessly raw and off-the-wall Herring. The set was an equal mix of old and new, hitting on the inevitable "Seasons (Waiting On You)" and "Tin Man" but also bringing some tenderness to more restrained tracks like "Little Dreamer" and "A Song For Our Grandfathers." During their encore, a cadre of fans rushed the stage mid-song to dance along.
Future Islands "Vireo's Eye", live in Portland
After witnessing their live set, it should be obvious to even the freshest Letterman fan that their success is anything but a flash in the pan. If you get a chance to see them live, don't hesitate - they are on top of their shit and it's a thrill to watch.
At Coachella this weekend and next, their tour hits a sold out Webster Hall in NYC on April 30. They played Bowery Ballroom earlier in the trek. The band also just announced they'll appear on TV again, this time on Jimmy Kimmel Live! On May 5.
Ed Schrader's Music Beat continues touring with Future Islands, but also plays Shea Stadium in Brooklyn on June 13. They also just released a brand new track from their new album Party Jail which comes out via Infinity Cat on May 20. You can listen to "Televan" below.
All dates are also listed with more pictures and video from the Portland show, below...
Ed Schrader's Music Beat
Future Islands "Back In The Tall Grass" live in Portland
Future Islands "Before the Bridges"
Future Islands "Inch of Dust"
Future Islands "Long Fight"
Future Islands "Seasons"
Future Islands -- 2014 Tours Dates:
NORTH AMERICAN TOUR WITH ED SCHRADER'S MUSIC BEAT
April 12 - Indio, CA @ Coachella
April 15 - Santa Ana, CA @ Constellation Room SOLD OUT
April 16 - Las Vegas, NV @ Beauty Bar
April 17 - Pioneertown, CA @ Pappy & Harriet's SOLD OUT
April 19 - Indio, CA @ Coachella
April 20 - Phoenix, AZ @ The Crescent Ballroom
April 21 - El Paso, TX @ Lowbrow Palace
April 22 - Marfa, TX @ Padre's
April 23 - Austin, TX @ The Mohawk SOLD OUT
April 24 - Dallas, TX @ Three Links SOLD OUT
April 25 - Little Rock, AR @ Stickyz Rock'n'Roll Chicken Shack
April 26 - Birmingham, AL @ The Bottletree
April 27 - Carrboro, NC @ Cat's Cradle SOLD OUT
April 29 - Philadelphia, PA @ First Unitarian Church SOLD OUT
April 30 - New York, NY @ Webster Hall SOLD OUT
May 1 - Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club SOLD OUT
UK / EUROPEAN TOUR WITH ED SCHRADER'S MUSIC BEAT
May 7 - London, UK @ Electric Ballroom SOLD OUT
May 8 - Manchester, UK @ Sound Control SOLD OUT
May 9 - Bristol, UK @ Start the Bus SOLD OUT
May 10 - Brighton, UK @ The Great Escape
May 11 - Ghent, BE @ Vooruit
May 12 - Paris, FR @ Le Trabendo
May 13 - Metz, FR @ Les Trinitaires
May 14 - Munster, DE @ Gleis 22
May 16 - Aarhus, DK @ Pop Revo Festival
May 17 - Hannover, DE @ Cafe Glocksee
May 18 - Dresden, DE @ Beatpol
May 19 - Leipzig, DE @ Conne Island
May 20 - Nurnberg, DE @ K4
May 21 - St. Gallen, SUI @ Palace
May 22 - Luzern, SUI @ Sudpol
May 23 - Offenbach, DE @ Hafen 2
May 25 - Koln, DE @ Gebaude 9
May 26 - Munchen, DE @ Feierwerk
May 28 - Wien, AUT @ Flex
May 29 - Barcelona, ES @ Primavera Sound
May 30 - Mannheim, DE @ Maifeld Derby Festival
May 31 - Neustrelitz, DE @ Immergut Festival
June 3 - Leeds, UK @ Brudenell Social Club
June 4 - Glasgow, UK @ SWG3
June 5 - Liverpool, UK @ The Kazimier
June 7 - Brighton, UK @ Concorde 2
June 8 - London, UK @ Field Day