Sasquatch 2015, Day 4: Future Islands

Sasquatch, Live Reviews
Isaac Kaplan-Woolner
all photos by Matthew B. Thompson

Future Islands has certainly blown up over the last year, as evidenced by the large crowd they drew to their main stage set at Sasquatch. This Baltimore, Maryland band is one of those rare groups whose breakthrough success essentially comes down to one single performance. In their case, it was their network television debut, an enthralling performance of "Seasons (Waiting on You)" on Letterman in March of 2014. Frontman Samuel T. Herring's passionate on stage dancing and vamping throughout the lead single from their fourth album, Singles, was the talk of the internet, and the video quickly garnered millions of views. This set the bar quite high for future live shows. But if anything, Herring somehow found a way to up the intensity, drama, and energy for their set at Sasquatch.

Backed by catchy synth pop sounds, Herring's voice soared into an emotive lyricism before suddenly crashing into an deep, growling roar more commonly found in hardcore or metal music. He bobbed his head and craned his neck in time with the uptempo beats, bent his knees deep, shimmied across the stage, and essentially danced all-out for the entire show. The man does not stop moving for a moment. Several times he underscored emotional moments by pounding on his chest so hard that the thumps were clearly picked up by the microphone. So big is his performance, so theatrical, that it is tempting to wonder if Herring is being a bit tongue in cheek. But his earnest and humble banter between each song, the genuine intensity he brought to his moves, and the often pained and lovesick lyrics tend to suggest that the singer means business. And it is hard to deny a performer that literally bleeds for his audience. At some point in the show Herring must have cut his hand on something, because streaks of crimson dripping down his fist were easy to spot on the giant screens flanking the stage. The singer paid no mind, and continued through a fiery set, wearing his heart on his sleeve both figuratively and literally.

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