Posts Tagged ‘ setlists ’

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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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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live review: The Features @ The Earl, 6/19/2010

As a high school music fan in Nashville, I didn’t discover The Features – I inherited them. There is no other band from the Middle Tennessee area that is as universally loved. I was in high school when they put out Exhibit A, their first released full length and major label debut. They were far from a young band at that point, though. The Features had been around in some incarnation since 1994 and had recorded two full length albums that have still never seen the light of day. Nashville already loved them, but I didn’t, not yet anyway. I was still into primarily punk and hardcore, mostly because Nashville’s local indie scene was inaccessible to the under 18 crowd. The Features weren’t the kind of thing I was listening to then, but I still thought it was cool that a local band had a major label deal.

Things changed as I got older and wasn’t afraid to embrace music that wasn’t at least tangentially related to punk or metal. It also helped that I became old enough to get into their shows when I was back home from college for breaks. As good as their recorded stuff can be, it’s never as good as seeing them live. I guess it was inevitable that I would become a fan. If you’re from Nashville and follow the local music scene at all, you’re probably a Features fan, too.

The band played The Earl Saturday night, opening for Modern Skirts. The room was near capacity, and it’s obvious much of the crowd was there to see The Features. This was my first time seeing them outside of Tennessee (except for the ’07 Forecastle Fest, but that featured so many Nashville bands that it probably shouldn’t count). It was cool to see so many people from my current hometown so excited about a band from my original hometown. Those reports of a strong regional following weren’t exaggerated. The crowd knew the songs and got noticeably more amped when the band would begin an older favorite like “Exorcising Demons” or closer “Thursday.” The latter was particularly interesting since “Thursday” has never been released outside of a limited edition run of vinyl that came out years ago.

I’ve posted a skeletal setlist below. I believe they played a lot of new songs, but it’s possible they were just unreleased old ones I’m not familiar with. If I labeled it as “new,” it isn’t on either officially released full length or any of their EPs (The Features, The Beginning, Contrast). There’s also a video of them playing “Thursday” for a Lake Fever session.

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live review: Free Energy, Jukebox the Ghost, Miniature Tigers @ Star Bar, 6/3/2010 (pics + setlists)

Free Energy

Jukebox the Ghost

Review, pictures, and setlists for Jukebox the Ghost and Free Energy below.

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