Posts Tagged ‘ Future Islands ’

[FESTIVAL REVIEW] Hopscotch Music Festival 2011

The Flaming Lips

I arrived in Raleigh for the Hopscotch Music Festival around 10:45pm on Thursday night.  After rushing to pick up my wristband, I headed over to a club named White Collar Crime in time to see polarizing art-rockers Xiu Xiu.  By the time they were finished, I felt like I had a good handle on the weekend that lay ahead of me – I was in for three nights of big (but not too big) crowds with a healthy appetite for adventurous music.  Hopscotch is only in its second year, but it has the potential to become one of the country’s coolest music festivals.

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Hopscotch Festival has an insane lineup

Raleigh, NC’s Hopscotch Music Festival just announced its lineup, and this is definitely worth a road trip.  The festival takes place September 8-10, and the lineup is great mix of long-running experimental acts, rising indie bands, and old school indie rock royalty.  It’s a walking festival with a bunch of participating venues, but there are two “headlining” shows that take place outdoors on Friday and Saturday.  Friday’s big show is headlined by Guided By Voices (who are apparently done with the reunion thing after this fall), with Drive-By Truckers and The Dodos opening.  Saturday features The Flaming Lips, along with Superchunk and The Light Pines.  Tickets to both those shows can be bought separately, too.

Highlights for me are Rhys Chatham, Earth, JEFF the Brotherhood, Mouthus, Future Islands, Prurient, Swans, and Oneohtrix Point Never, but that’s really just the tip of the iceberg.  The lineup is loaded with great acts, many of which don’t tour all that heavily.

Don’t sleep on this one – VIP tickets sold out in a few hours, so I doubt regular passes last until September.

Full lineup after the jump.

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Future Islands keep getting bigger (w/ Eyedrum 11/17/2010 setlist)

That video above is from Future Islands’ first acoustic show at the Metro Gallery in Baltimore.  In advance of that performance, they recorded a four song acoustic EP featuring “Vireo’s Eye” and 3 of their other songs done in the style seen above.  If you’ve heard the original versions, the differences are fairly dramatic.  They totally work, too.

The Undressed EP is just one in a series of great releases the band has put out this year.  The first was the In the Fall EP, which featured Katrina Ford from Celebration on the title track, which has become a staple and highlight of their live sets.  After that was a four song remix EP (Post Office Wave Chapel) that had work from heavy hitters like No Age, Javelin, and Victoria Legrand.  Then came their sophomore full length, In Evening Air, which I still consider the best album of 2010.  Undressed followed the full length, and now their most recent release is a split 7″ with Lonnie Walker.

That’s a lot of material, and it’s all been pretty damn great.  I’m bringing this all up to explain why I don’t think there’s another band who has had as good a year as Future Islands.  Judging by their rising internet profile and the increasing attendance at the three Atlanta shows they’ve played in 2010, I’d say they’re being justly rewarded.  Back in May they played to maybe 40 people at 529 (review), and they weren’t even the headliner.  When they returned to 529 in July (review), that number more than doubled – the place was pretty crowded.  Last night’s crowd at Eyedrum would have sold the hell out of 529.

The live show surely has had something to do with their success, but they never pander.  They typically start with a slow-burner, and their last two Atlanta sets have even opened with an unreleased new song.  “Tin Man” or “Walking Through That Door” aren’t showing up til mid-set.  The whole catalog is fair game, too – last night’s set was a pretty eclectic selection from five different releases.  Not that it matters that much of the audience isn’t familiar with all the material – I don’t think they’ve ever met a crowd they couldn’t win over.

Watching this band blow up has been one of the musical highlights of my year.  If you’re not on the bandwagon yet, fix it.

Setlist from last night after the jump.

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This week’s shows (11/15/2010-11/21/2010)

Future Islands


Monday (11/15/2010): Brooklyn’s Liturgy signed to venerable indie label Thrill Jockey last week and stirred up some debate about the increasing overlap between indie rock and metal (specifically black metal, as that’s what Liturgy specializes in).  Is there an actually increasing intersection between the two, or are there just a handful of metal bands (Liturgy, Krallice, various bands from the Southern Lord roster) that are exclusively playing indie venues to crowds full of skinny jeans?  Does it even matter?  Liturgy’s one of those crossover bands, and their show at The Earl tonight should be a good one.  Locals Uberchriist and Wolves & Jackals open (the former of which will also probably be hit with the “hipster metal” tag if they ever break out).  If you could care less about metal’s place in indie rock, there’s a great free option over at 529:  The North Trolls, This Piano Plays Itself, and The Future Now.

Tuesday (11/16/2010): Slow night.  There’s Tornado Town and Fletcher C. Johnson at 529, and not much else.

Wednesday (11/17/2010): If you’re at all familiar with this blog, you probably know I’m a huge fan of Baltimore’s Future Islands.  If you missed them both times they played 529 earlier this year, you get another chance this week at Eyedrum.  The openers are great, too:  Raleigh’s Lonnie Walker played a strong set of rootsy, punk-inflected indie to a too-small crowd at 529 back in July.  Locals Nomen Novum and Battlemoon II open as well.

Thursday (11/18/2010): The $35 tickets for Grinderman‘s show at Variety Playhouse might be steep, but how many chances are you going to get to see this project live?  Nick Cave doesn’t exactly tour that hard with the Bad Seeds, either, so scarcity is a good enough reason to justify the price.  Thereminist Armen Ra opens.  After that show’s over, head up the street to Star Bar and catch whatever is left of the free Back Pockets/Lera Lynn/Night Driving in Small Towns show.  Past experience with both venues suggests you’ll be able to catch the majority of both shows.

Friday (11/19/2010): Maserati, Royal Thunder, and Brainworlds at The Earl should be great, but I’ll probably be down the street at 529 for Small Reactions 7″ release show with Sorry No Ferrari, Sons of Thor, and The Tar Bay Beez.  Look for a review of that 7″ here tomorrow.  There’s also Nashville synth-poppers How I Became the Bomb at Star Bar, with Shovels and Rope and Goldstein.

Saturday (11/20/2010): Tonight was supposed to be all about Baltimore’s Double Dagger at The Earl, but they had to cancel their tour due to a family emergency.  Local openers Knaves Grave are now headlining, and the cover has been knocked down to $5. Mood Rings and Soft Powers open.  Wowser Bowser plays an EP release show at the Drunken Unicorn with This Piano Plays Itself, Co Co Ri Co, and Sunspots.  And finally, Roman Photos play a 7″ release show at 529 with Thy Mighty Contract and current local faves Qurious.

Sunday (11/21/2010): Little Tybee will play hangover-friendly music for your degenerate ass at The Earl during the afternoon.  Later that night you can catch Junip (featuring Jose Gonzalez) and Sharon Van Etten at the same venue.  Van Etten is totally hangover friendly, too, in addition to being totally awesome.

live review: Future Islands @ 529, 7/19/2010 (setlist)

I guess a lot can change in a couple of months. When Future Islands played 529 on a Saturday night back in May, they played to a respectable but far from capacity crowd, many of whom seemed to be there for headliner Balkans. Last night was a different story. Future Islands were the headliner and clear main attraction, and they packed out 529 with moving (if not totally dancing) bodies. If it wasn’t a Monday night, I’m sure things would have been even better.

So, what has happened in those last two months? Word of mouth, probably. When they played here back in May, In Evening Air had just been released, and the positive reviews were just starting to come in. Since then there’s been more reviews, interviews, and profiles written, and their live show has prompted some to declare Sam Herring one of the most interesting frontmen in indie rock. I’m willing to bet that most of the people who caught them back in May showed up again last night, and that more than a few of them brought along friends.

If they keep playing shows like last night’s, the crowds are just going to keep growing. Herring is so interesting to watch and hear that even the slower songs like “An Inch of Dust” maintain the intensity, and the more upbeat ones like “Vireo’s Eye” or “Walking Through the Door” feel even more cathartic than they do on record. I haven’t been shy about how much I love In Evening Air, but it was nice to see some old songs pop up last night, too. They encored with “The Happiness of Being Twice” and “Little Dreamer,” the latter of which they played with all the house lights up in the interest of a more communal experience. Herring said they want to be open about what they do and how they’re doing it, so up went the lights. It was a nice moment, and an affecting way to end the show. Herring described “Little Dreamer” as a sad story that used to be a happy one, and it’s hard not to connect it to the breakup narrative that keeps popping up in the press surrounding the new album. It’s a reminder that no matter how over the top Herring might go on-stage, the emotions he’s expressing in capital letters are still genuine. It’s more than just showboating or empty performance art. When he thanks the audience for showing up and sharing in the experience, there’s no doubting his sincerity.

Setlist after the jump.

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Balkans, Future Islands, Lower Dens, #Phonepunk# @ 529, 5/8/10 (pics + FI setlist)

Future Islands

Review, pics, and Future Islands’ setlist after the jump.

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