2017 has been a hell of a year for synth-pop 80's throwback band Future Islands. Formed in 2006 the band have been on the scene long enough to earn them their headline slots at the likes of Coachella this year. It's not that they've been making their new-wave anthems for over a decade that's got them there though, it's the upbeat keyboard and tight bass work intertwined with iconic frontman Samuel T. Herring's dark and anguished lyrics.
Last night we trudged over to the Apollo in Manchester as the sky opened up for our first snow of the year. It was grey, freezing and hard not be to be a bit hard-nosed about leaving the warm and dry of indoors on a Friday night. The Manchester weather deterred no one and the Apollo was packed with people from a spectrum of backgrounds and ages. The band seem to attract a genuine crowd who felt no shame animatedly dancing, bopping and cheering to the energetic sound, there were more crowd surfers than I've seen at any one gig for a while, despite my usual comfort zone being heavier rock gigs. One older woman next to me was even waving at Herring throughout, unashamedly and adorably hoping he might wave back.
It makes sense that the crowd might be at least a little extrovert, when you've seen Herring's own moves. This is a man who performs with his entire body, through dance and movement as much as with his voice. His range is impressive but his tones too range from beautifully clear falsettos to deep gravely screams that wouldn't be out of place in a metal band. The effect is mesmerising. He is a frontman in all senses of the word. At no point does the mind wander watching Future Islands as Herring belly-slides across the stage and death drops as well as the anyone.
Celebrating their latest album The Far Field, tracks like Ran, Black Rose and Cave were met to remarkable cheers from the crowd, Seasons (Waiting On You), A Dream Of You And Me and Ran from previous album Singles too we knew every word to. There were a few older tracks from their extensive back catalog such as Vireo's Eye too. The crowd certainly gave back to Future Islands last night and Herring even said how appreciative they are to live the life they do, because of their supportive fanbase.
He talked a lot of the sea and the beach and home. As energetic, enrapturing and musically tight as they may be on stage, I think Future Islands deserve a well-earned rest after what has to be their most incredible year yet.