Any band with a lead singer as enigmatic as Samuel T Herring is guaranteed to put on an amazing live show. He is the perfect foil for his somewhat downbeat fellow band members J Gerrit Welmers and William Cashion. Pre-show he is laidback, drinking beers with the punters and selling CDs but once on-stage, puts on an impassioned, energetic performance. Playing in the Workman’s Club, Future Islands draw probably one of their largest Dublin crowds to date. Support comes from the excellent Patrick Kelleher and His Cold Dead Hands, who finish their set with a cover of an Art Lord & the Self Potraits track, the first incarnation of Future Islands.
Touring on the back of their recent album In Evening Air, tonight’s gig is the last of their European tour. The strain of gigging non-stop for two months is evident in Herring’s voice on opening song ‘On the Water’. Once warmed up we’re treated to his full vocal range – raspy, hollering and screaming. ‘Tin Man’, one of the standout tracks on the album brings out a frenzied, chest beating, fist pumping performance from Herring, and some energetic dancing from the audience. ‘Long Flight’ increases the energy levels even more. Herring, now fully into his on-stage persona, clings onto the edge of the stage and reaches out to the audience, part preacher, part actor.
Delving into their back catalogue they play ‘Beach Foam’ and ‘Old Friend’ which elicit a strong response. ‘Vireo’s Eye’ and ‘As I Fall’ (which had its live debut in Whelan’s last year) are equally well received and translate very well to a live setting. ‘Happiness of Being Twice’ along with ‘Little Dreamer’ are the encore tracks. No-one can deny Herring has given an immense performance, and he certainly converts some non-believers in the process.