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Future Islands Mesmerize Chicago with a Soul-Cleansing Performance


There’s nothing really to say other than Future Islands absolutely slayed their show at Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre this past Friday night. I was captivated by Samuel T. Herring’s swagger, sex appeal, and commanding presence throughout the entire performance. Like an author with a typewriter, the band was the perfect accompaniment for Herring to tell his story, with the audience (myself included) hanging on every word. This was my first time seeing Future Islands, and it left me frustrated—frustrated that I hadn’t experienced them live sooner. It was a soul-cleansing experience, and I crave more of it. That show left me wanting more and, for my money, raised the bar for musical experiences significantly.

From their inception, Future Islands have been singular and instantly identifiable. Samuel T. Herring’s life-worn croons and cries are backlit by Gerrit Welmers’ melodies and charged by the rhythms of William Cashion and Michael Lowry. There’s a profound blend of pain and joy in Herring’s voice that is only matched by their legendary live performances. Future Islands have played nearly 1,500 shows—shows that have bruised bodies, frayed vocal cords, provided escapes for audiences, and healed their messengers.

You find so much meaning within their lyrics, bridges, and chords. It made me feel like an EV car getting a full charge; I loved it. The Baltimore trio, known for their “cathartic” energy (NPR), consists of the enigmatic frontman Samuel T. Herring, bassist/guitarist William Cashion, and keyboardist/guitarist/programmer Gerrit Welmers. Herring’s deeply poetic tales of heartbreak, love, and loss are finally up front and in high fidelity. I want more!


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