It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s frontman Samuel T. Herring of Future Islands. Flying — or is that …pirouetting? — across the stage of Boston’s Royale.
Hearts swooned as the slightly stout, slightly round singer transformed into every woman’s dream man [enter the Jack Black effect here]. Whether it was love or lust, one thing is for certain: Future Islands’s two nights in Boston last week, January 6 and 7, may have manifested some of the coldest weather this season, but the Baltimore band kept things burning up up up.
“What happens if the singer from Future Islands wakes up one morning and doesn’t feel like dancing?” asked Vanyaland co-founder Michael Marotta on Twitter last week. Based on the evening’s events, I found this question valid and pertinent.
When I arrived at Royale for the band’s second of two nights on Tremont Street, a sea of plaid-encrusted “bros” washed over the floor. However, the second the riveting performer in question graced us with his presence and consequent belly rolls, booty poppin’, and everything else one recalls of Britney Spears in her “Baby One More Time” music video, I looked around me and something bizarre had happened. While I, a relative nerd, tried hard to suppress my blushing and self-conscious giggle, brought on by all the on-stage seduction, these same bros, the one’s I’d usually find fist pumping and what not, struck me by surprise. They too had developed the same “Herring groove,” and like something out of a Spice Girls movie, grown men let loose and showed up all of the ladies that night.
The girls, myself included, caught on. As Future Islands played through their setlist — a long list of crowd favorites like “Seasons (Waiting ON You)”, “Spirit,” “Balance,” and perhaps the best song ever, “Lighthouse” — singles, couples, and everyone in between harbored an enthusiasm and energy that permeated the air outside of the show and followed me all the way back home, afterwards.
Never did I expect to see such dedicated fans.
But, in retrospect, Future Islands warrant such a following. Although bandmates joked about “fucking up” certain parts of certain songs, to the unsuspecting eye, or ear rather, the quartet sounded as good, if not better than their studio recordings. Herring’s — dare I say? — Transylvania-esque voice growled in perfect tenor as his fellow musicians played in blissful harmony; straight-up auditory candy. Like the Abba Zabba of my youth, revisited.
At times, the band ducked in and out of ecclesiastical lighting that draped their bodies in saint hood, images of Jesus Christ came to mind. Maybe I’m being melodramatic, but there was something eery, and almost religious in their performance.
So what if a band like Future Islands couldn’t freeze time? Couldn’t cause men to live a little feminine? Couldn’t beckon inhibitions to fall to the way side? Couldn’t offer childish release to its audience? Well, what if the lead singer of Future Islands decided he didn’t feel like dancing, and thus in a terrible turn of events, the whole band decided to stop playing? The world would be a much, much darker place without them in it.