photos by Amanda Hatfield
"Future Islands was so good last night. Incredible energy and so much booty shaking. The man has soul." - Jett Wells
"Probably written more words on this band than any other over the years, but let's say it again: Future Islands are something special." - @cmgzine
"Omar Souleyman and his serious live clapping giving me everything" - Carrie Wilds
Long-running, but more popular than ever, Baltimore's dancing synth-pop act Future Islands came to NYC last night (8/7) for a free show at the House of Vans. The bill was filled out by a trio of excellent pop-minded acts: Syrian pop singer Omar Souleyman, Dan Boeckner's (Wolf Parade, Divine Fits) new act Operators and local indie pop act Mas Ysa. Not surprisingly, the show was already near capacity by the time the first opener went on around 7pm. Those who RSVP'd but didn't get there early enough were being turned away all night.
Omar is a great opener for Future Islands because Omar doesn't do much. It's hard to tell if the deadpan thing is his shtick, if he's just phoning it in, or if he's just reacting to a crowd full of non-dancers. He walks around the stage in sunglasses, sometimes staring at the not-dancing crowd as he croons. His signature moves are moving his outreached arms up and down and clapping to get the crowd energized and moving. Backed only by a keyboard player and/or track, his music is booming, loud and sounds great. And It would be a great dance party if people danced, or maybe if Omar did.
Future Islands frontman Samuel T. Herring on the other hand is a dancing machine, a living meme, a sex machine. Smiling, chatting, crooning and dancing while backed by a very able and seasoned band. The crowd goes nuts and rightfully so (even with the muddy, poorly-mixed sound in the House of Vans warehouse that kind of ruined it for me, as I stood towards the back). The large, enthusiastic crowd, drunk on free Shiner beer, cheered before and after every song, and even more when Sam showed off his special moves, and even more when hit single "Seasons" came up in the Singles-heavy set list.
House of Vans is a spacious, corporate-funded, skate park and event venue in warehouse located in the heart of hip Greenpoint/Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Future Islands know the neighborhood well, or at least certain places in the neighborhood like the small, long-running DIY venue called Death By Audio that they've played many times, and that Sam gave a shoutout to from the stage (It was hard to understand but he said, but it was something about going there the night before because it's the only place he knows).
For Operators, it was their 2nd-ever NYC show. Their first was the BrooklynVegan Northside showcase. House of Vans ended up being the first show of a Future Islands and Operators tour together. They'll hit Millvale, PA tonight. Check out all the dates for that tour, as well as the rest of the pictures from last night's House of Vans show, an Instagram video featuring some of his moves, and a stream of Vince Clarke's new remix of "Doves", below...
Operators - 2014 Tour Dates
08-07 Brooklyn, NY - House of Vans *
08-08 Millvale, PA - Mr. Small's Theatre *
08-09 Indianapolis, IN - The Vogue *
08-10 Milwaukee, WI - Turner Hall *
08-11 Sioux Falls, SD - Icon Lounge *
08-12 Fort Collins, CO - Aggie Theater *
08-13 Salt Lake City, UT - Kilby Court
08-15 Boise, ID - Egyptian Theatre *
08-18 Sacramento, CA - Harlow's *
08-19 Fresno, CA - Star Palace at Warnors Theatre *
08-20 Los Angeles, CA - The Fonda Theatre *
08-21 Los Angeles, CA - The Fonda Theatre *
08-22 San Diego, CA - Irenic *
08-24 Phoenix, AZ - The Crescent Ballroom
08-25 Tucson, AZ - 191 Toole *
08-27 Denver, CO - Gothic Theatre *
08-28 Omaha, NE - The Waiting Room *
08-29 Des Moines, IA - Wooly's *
08-30 Chicago, IL - Schubas !
08-31 Columbus, OH - The Big Bang *
09-02 Montreal, Quebec - La Tulipe *
09-03 South Burlington, VT - Higher Ground Ballroom *
09-04 Portland, ME - Port City Music Hall *
09-07 Toronto, Ontario - Horseshoe Tavern
09-13 Hamilton, Ontario - James Street North Supercrawl
10-23 Halifax, Nova Scotia - The Marquee Club
* with Future Islands
! with Tweens