We could go with the easy route and talk about Sam Herring’s movements, the amazingly tight sound for a live act, every song played, or how the lights will hypnotize you, but there’s an almost unspeakable depth to the experience of seeing Future Islands live. The legends of their live performances date back to us with stories from friends who were in bands that opened for them in hole-in-the-wall clubs in the Carolinas during the late 00s.

Until earlier this year, we had been located in Southeast Asia for over seven years. So you’ll have to excuse us for being new to this. We knew about the aforementioned aspects, and our friends told us about this rare, cosmic invisible thread that exists at their shows. But I don’t think we were exactly clear about what that meant until we saw them on May 25th at Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel in Providence, RI.

That’s where the story begins, and that’s why the first word of this is what it is. Given the band’s explosion over the last three years, things could be very different about their demeanor. Tuning their own instruments before getting going should have been our first notion into the humility of Future Islands. Then Herring walks onto stage, engages in short conversation, and the show begins.

Talking before playing one note? About the history of them playing in Providence? We knew this was something different, something that others hadn’t told us about. They were creating a community, a level playing field. Simply put, they were reminding us that the artists we love are humans and equal to us – they were creating a connection.

As the lights flashed and Herring pounded his chest, you understood the feeling and meaning behind every motion. Every time Gerrit Welmers changed chords or William Cashion dug deeper on the bass, you could feel this invisible energy entering into your heart and coming out of your pores.

There was eye contact, there were firm handshakes. There was singing directly to the balcony like they were the only people there, there was a quiet, intensely intimate closer. There were fans dancing with each other, there were fans discussing the moments that brought them to tears at various points.

Future Islands created a community. The band created a connection. And they showed the intangible power of doing such. In a world where isolation is becoming an increasing norm, the band showed a desire to connect in a way that we can all benefit from. If they can do this with a room full of strangers, why can’t we do this with those closest to us?

They’re playing in Boston in October. We’ll be there.

Future Islands are currently touring North America and Europe. You can view tour dates on the band’s website, and be sure to get their lasted album, The Far Field, while you’re at it.


In our new series on the live music we see, we hope to explore a different side of the live music experience.