Early last year, Future Islands broke into the mainstream with a captivating performance of Seasons (Waiting On You) on The Late Show With David Letterman. Their frontman, Samuel T Herring, moved on stage like a man possessed, pounding his chest with his fist and growling over the layered synthpop accompanying him. Several million internet hits later, the band were elevated to the next level of success.
Their sellout show at Manchester Academy covers much of their current album, Singles, but is dominated by tracks from their back catalogue, highlighting the consistent quality of their output before they gained an increased fan base. The strong opener, Give Us The Wind, and the three songs played as their encore, all precede their Letterman appearance by many years. The band’s more recent material understandably receives a better reception from the crowd, but they are kept entertained with a steady momentum of finely crafted arrangements throughout the set.
The hypnotic groove of Walking Through That Door and the harmonious chorus of Doves are standout moments from the substantial set list. Both do so more than the much-anticipated rendition of Seasons (Waiting On You) – the song which introduced much of the crowd to the band – though its performance is nevertheless a memorable highlight.
Songs from the recently released The Chase and Haunted By You are given a live airing in succession. While neither song ventures into new territory, they still whet the appetite for a new album.
Herring proves himself to have a refreshingly unique stage presence which doesn’t feel forced, despite the exaggerated actions he displays. But while he holds masses of character within the venue, the venue itself offers very little in return, with the more delicate moments of the band’s performance becoming lost within an uninventive space best suited to heavier sounds. Despite this, Future Islands prove themselves worthy of their achievements and underline that they should’ve been recognised by a wider audience sooner.