In the Delhi Mosque inspired Prince Of Wales (King George IV) commissioned magnificence of the former stable house, The Brighton Dome, a band based in the U.S eastern coastal town of Baltimore came to enthral the audience on the south coast of the U.K. Although the birth place of the band, Greenville NC, and tonight's venue maybe some 3,839M apart, in truth, it felt more like a home coming gig. Sam, William, Gerrit and Michael were in the form of their lives, putting on a near two hour show in front of a very appreciative, psyched and synced, sell-out crowd.
Future Islands have been coming to gig in Brighton since 2009 and clearly connect with the town and its audience. Sam too was obviously taken by tonight's venue, "It's very beautiful here", he said as the band launched into their epic set.
'Back In The Tall Grass', from the bands breakthrough 2014 album 'Singles', got the evening off to an impassioned start. With Samuel Herring's first, signature, chest thump of the night raising an early cheer from the crowd Future Islands wasted no time at all as they tore into a visually arresting, electrifying rendition of 'Time On Her Side' from their sensational new album 'The Far Field'. "A lot of our songs are about the sea...I think we have a kindred spirit".
With the stage and band now bathed in a warm magenta glow and with the first, provocative, and crowd pleasing twerk of the night now passed the band delivered a fantastic take on 'A Dream Of Me And You' before Sam's first foray into Cossack dancing ahead of one the new album's highlights, 'North Star'. The playful rhythm, bubbling bass line and engaging lyric set up a more potent blast of the pogo inducing 'Doves' before the band slowed it down a notch for the soulful ballad, 'Candles'...of which Sam said "I love singing that song". His passion was clear, his performance a really captivating engaging piece of theatre and the whole band interaction fascinating. From an audience point of view it appeared that he loved what he did, there were no half measures, nothing held back, this was a heart on your sleeve, cathartic release that he needed to share as badly as the crowd needed to see and hear it.
A brilliant 'Beauty Of The Road' and superb version of the electo-pop masterpiece 'Ran', replete with machine gun percussion, were split by the demonic deliverance of 2010's 'Walking Through The Door' before one of the most immersive, spell binding performance's on the night for 'Cave'. Between the Can Can dancing, dry stage speed skating and hurtling back and forth throughout the night Samuel T Herring also managed to capture a real drama and give a most evocative performance. In terms of front men they don't come much more individual or charismatic. Wing Dam (Support act) bassist and singer Sara Autrey was definitely right when she commented earlier that "he (Sam) sets the bar...pretty high".
Sam's engagement with his audience was a wonderful thing to witness, even the way the stage was set up to help him deliver his unique vision was inspiring. With a band member to either side and his drummer behind you wouldn't exactly have called it anything other than pedestrian or uniform until you see the performance unfold; it's like they sectioned him off with monitors and gave him his own dance floor, his own stage within a stage to cavort and dervish with the audience as his forth wall on which to project.
There were words of wisdom too from Mr Herring about not being afraid to chase your dreams and a little philosophising about how they (The band) had grown. A stirring 'Through The Roses' was delivered up, for "every single one of you in the audience", before the biggest crowd participation of the night for the band's breakthrough single, 'Seasons'. Everyone was on their feet raising the roof of the Dome before a flurry of frenetic strobes to accompany 'Tin Man' headed up the close out track, 'Light House'.
With the enthusiastic and thunderous noise generated by the charged crowd an encore was not only inevitable but necessary. Neither band nor audience were quite ready for proceedings to come to a conclusion. 'Inch Of Dust', 'Black Rose', and finally the emotive imparting of 'Little Dreamer', among others, saw the night off in glorious style.
Future Islands gave up a stellar performance tonight. The atmosphere was beyond electric, the connection between band and audience almost tangible and the whole dynamic just wonderful. There was not a dull moment as Sam expressed himself like only he does giving a new meaning to Madge's ideas on Vogueing and capturing an audience so completely like few artists are capable of in such possessive proportions. A gig and a night to remember for a long while....catch them if you can, they won't disappoint.
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