Rock City, Nottingham, 23/6/2017
published: 30 /
Dave Goodwin watches Future Islands make it at last to Nottingham's Rock City where despite excessive heat they play an extraordinary set
Whenever I review a band at Nottingham's stickiest venue it is either hot or cold. Tonight as we walked up past Spanky's and up the steps in front of Rock City it was neither. It was bloody baking! Even before we we made our way into the main room the heat was heavy, but when we got inside, to our surprise, the air conditioning was working and it was quite cool. This didn't last long as no sooner than we had got to the pit than the support band took to the stage and things started to get warmer. Bamboo worked their way through a half an hour set to get the escalating crowd in the mood. By now it so was hot that you could feel the sticky floor starting to feel like tar on the road when you were a kid.
The walls were running with sweat by the time Samuel T Herring, Gerrit Welmers, William Cashion and Michael Lowry appeared through the plentiful dry ice. The buzz around the sold out venue was unreal and smiles on every face told a story, as Herring started proceedings by apologising for postponing their previous date in May and thanked us all for coming out. As if we wanted to stay at home on a night when Future Islands had come to town...
The band from Greenville, North Carolina have been together since 2006 and have released five albums. Their latest album 'The Far Field' comes on the back of their most successful offering to date, the critically-acclaimed 'Singles' from 2014. They received their biggest break arguably by appearing on 'Letterman' in the States and then here across the pond on Jools Holland's 'Later With...' at the same time as they signed to 4AD. They appeared at last year's Glastonbury and again this year, and took the stage by storm.
Probably the biggest asset in Future Islands' armoury is their live show that has to be witnessed to be believed. And here we were drenched in sweat doing just that, dancing around like school kids and singing like we just didn't care. Herring has no cut off valve. He runs on more than Duracell that's for sure, and was a stark contrast to bassist Cashion who hardly cracked a smile all evening. The tracks kept coming like steam trains hurtling down the track one after the other, and they didn't just stick to the new album either. All its predecessors were represented in one way shape or form, all to wild cheering from the crowd. Herring was in a particularly over growling voice tonight which got the expectant attendees even more wound up. Superb versions of 'Ran', 'Time on Her Side', 'Ancient Water' and this boy's favourite 'Through the Roses' from 'The Far Field' were mixed up with clammy other contributions from earlier albums. 'Seasons', 'A Dream of You and Me', 'On the Water', 'Balance', 'Walking through That Door' and 'Tin Man' were all in there as the volume cranked up and the hall became warmer and warmer still. Even when they came back out for the encore they seemed to become louder and louder as the crowd cheered more and more with each new Herring gymnastic show.
By the end we were all soaked. But it was a good soaked. Bidding us good night, it seemed like Herring had over growled a little too much. Such was his extent of dedication to putting on a show. We left feeling rejuvenated and inspired, and on a night when Future Islands had double booked Nottingham and there was a bigger 'band' on at a bigger venue here in the same city I know where I would rather have been. The future is bright, the future is Future Islands. Marvellous in the extreme!
Photos by Dave Goodwin