Future Islands – ABC, Glasgow, Tue 4 Nov
Middle of the road electropop saved by eccentric frontman
There’s a fun drinking game to be played at Future Islands shows based around frontman Samuel T Herring’s idiosyncratic repertoire of dance moves – the pogo, the chestbeating, the bowling ball, the drowning man, the Frisbee ninja – but even at one sip per step, there’s a danger of being royally pissed by the end of the first song, such is his commitment to the performance.
Herring is an oddity – and odd is to be embraced. Nevertheless, with the crowd whooping whenever he busts a naff but seemingly uncontrived move or modulates his voice from a perfectly reasonable pop rasp to a sudden death metal growl, this show feels more like sport than a gig.
The music? Well, it’s okay – mostly efficient driving electro pop with the occasional new romantic inflection (on the closing ‘Spirit’ for example) but several longueurs before they bust out the blithe ‘Seasons’. Much of the rest of the set sounds like the tracks they were trying out along the road to getting it right with the song Bono has dubbed ‘a miracle’. And without Herring for company along the way, this would have been a rather dull encounter.