Sure, you’re probably already thinking “man, Fresh Heirs reviewing yet another Future Islands show. How many can these guys do?” Well the answer is as many as we damn well want. But this one was in fact different. To commemorate the Residents Open House at Creative Alliance at the Patterson, Future Islands played 2 sets, one acoustic [for the third time I might add] in the gallery and one in the normal electric setup in the theatre of the artist residency.
Surrounded by dozens of faux roses, Future Islands, away from their electronics, opting for a piano, acoustic bass, and some extra musicians adding acoustic guitar, cello and drums, took to the stage with Sam likening the set to the “November Rain” music video. They started with the instrumental title song from In Evening Air before heading straight into “In the Fall.” The songs were more tender, and in such an intimate venue, almost more wounded than in other settings. Sam’s voice is more jilted than the almost theatrical British patois he applies in typical shows. One thing definitely notable about the setup is the deeper impact of the lyrics. On “The Happiness of Being Twice” from the Feathers and Hallways 7″ from a few years back, “there’s a saying where I come from/’no mistake is truly wrong'” seems like the truest statement ever. And of course, my all time favorite “Little Dreamer” transcends from the almost abrasive end track of Wave Like Home into a gentle lullaby.
After a switchover into the theatre of the venue, the more traditional setup started with Will on electric bass and Gerrit on synth. The set was heavy with new songs, which sound more akin to the almost relaxed production value of “In the Fall” as opposed to In Evening Air. Again, they were completely on their game, creating a wonderful atmosphere, despite a crowd that seemed to be filled with people who were there to see the art show. Plus the set was filled with favorites like “Inch of Dust” and a special little treat of an a capella “Swept Inside,” probably my favorite song on the album, after the PA cut out on Gerrit’s synth, which was almost more powerful then the album version. Plus, a balloon drop for the end of the show is always excellent. And the encore of “Beach Foam” was classic.
Much like Dan at Beach House the other night, this was my first “great show” in a while. Dan’s seeing Future Islands tonight. I’m seeing them open up for Celebration on Saturday. Expect reviews for all of them.