Gig review: Future Islands

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WHEN Future Islands’ frontman Samuel T Herring’s impassioned and bizarrely compelling bad dad dancing during a performance on US TV’s Late Night With David Letterman earlier this year spawned a viral video sensation, the North Carolinian disco-synthpop band seized their long overdue moment.

Future Islands - SWG3, Glasgow

***

Fans following Future Islands for the three albums preceding current breakout set Singles know that Herring’s been dancing like no one’s watching for almost a decade now – this was their fifth Glasgow show to date, and thanks to the Letterman-effect, comfortably their biggest. It was inevitably a buzz to watch one of the most talked-about groups in the world, though whether the bubble of fascination surrounding them will expand or pop was difficult to predict on this evidence.

A Frankenstein frontman consisting of two parts Morrissey, one part Henry Rollins and one part soul preacher man, whose stage shtick elsewhere involved trying to pull his face off and thwacking his chest so hard you could hear it through his microphone, there was something deeply punk-rock about Herring. The dreamily euphoric Sun in the Morning and Seasons (Waiting On You) were uplifting, but much else felt like variations on the same theme. The sense of déjà vu wasn’t lessened by Herring’s bandmates on synth, bass and drums, always satisfied to let the singer remain the focus.

But they seemed thoroughly good blokes – everyone from security to the bar staff got a heartfelt thank you – and after an encore intended as one song soon became four, you couldn’t help but root for them to continue loving living the dream, however long it lasts.

Seen on 04.06.14