Synth-soul popsters Future Islands graced Vancouver’s Vogue Theatre with two nights of their fine presence, and the fact that the band would have a hotel room (“after 8 or 9 months on the road” and “only every once a week or so”), made singer Samuel T. Herring giddy.
Rolling up his sleeves, sticking his tongue out, stalking the stage and seemingly talking in every face, grinning and babbling like a brook, he yammered on about everything and nothing in between songs. Punch-drunk and goofy, he eventually thanked the crowd “for letting me be silly up here.”
Meanwhile, stonefaced keyboardist player Gerrit Welmers remained utterly unphased even when goaded by Herring, bassist Will Cashion did flash a grin to let us know he was alive back there, and Mike Lowry bashed out on drums. Though of the three countries and myriad shows I’ve watched and loved Future Islands in, I’ve definitely seen the band more animated. Perhaps this is what 8-9 months of touring looks like: Functional? Surviving? Counting down until soft comforters and privacy?
But I may have been the only one who noticed. The real energy, as it has always been and likely forever will always be, belongs to Herring, a kind of everyman’s boyfriend. The weird guy from highschool who grows up to be awesome. To wit; within seconds of the band kicking off, a lanky, long-haired bro was hoisted up on his buddy’s shoulders, ready to salute one of the best showmen in the US. “Oh you’re ready to go already?” Herring laughed, staring the guy down from behind those eyes you swim in and a face now more Wolverine than ever. “It’s gonna be like that, tonight?”
And the dude bro was ready to go. Everyone was ready to go. They always are at a Future Island show. And thusly Herring responds in kind with shaking fists, pounding chests, in-yer-face serenading, thousand-yard stares, swiveling hips and Cossack kicks….and that, combined with his festival-friendly soul bellow, is why everyone loves him. Samuel T. Herring is one of the last of the great frontmen who is ready to really give it – even when he’s clearly exhausted, and going through his motions – up on stage.
Dear Future Islands, I hope you had a wonderful sleep in your hotel after 8 or 9 months on the road. You deserve it. \m/