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Future Islands - O2 Academy, Newcastle

  • Published in Live

One of the most anticipated shows for quite a while, as Future Islands finally return to Newcastle after rocketing into the public eye some eighteen months ago. Having been at their only previous show in the city this was something of a change up from somewhere that is a tenth of the size to tonight’s Academy show.

However, there are two intriguing support acts to tackle before we have the pleasure of Sam Herring’s dancing, first up is local act Du Blonde although you’d be confused as to her origin due to her wildly different accent. Her set seems to lack any excitement, with her bland tracks all sounding like something we’ve heard all too many times before.

Apart from the die hard few at the front the biggest cheers come as she welcomes Future Islands front man, Sam on to the stage to duet with her. Following on from this lacklustre set, an altogether different prospect takes to the stage and turns everything up to eleven as Dope Body hurtles into view. Whilst many look bemused again a die-hard few at the front are in complete awe of these four guys from Baltimore.

With screamed lyrics and angst-ridden songs they put on an incredible show, and whilst they may or may not turn heads for the right reasons we’re completely amazed by them. All of this though is supplementary as this packed crowd are waiting in anticipation of one of the most entertaining bands around.

As they take to the stage they immediately look taken aback by the rapturous reception, citing their previous show and how this one is a little bigger. In no time at all they lift the entire crowds spirits with some excellent dance moves, and a trio of tracks lifted from Singles. The early highlight being 'A Dream of You and Me', this beautiful synth track is the first of many hands in the air moments that become commonplace in tonight’s set.

Their groovy synth lines coupled with Sam’s one of a kind vocals are truly brilliant, if there was one thing that lets down the evening it is the poor sound in the venue. However, to some extent this is out of the bands control and regardless of this they continue at a blistering pace, as they play tracks from their incredible back catalogue including the considerably darker 'Before The Bridge'.

Whilst it is somewhat darker it still possesses that beautiful synthesised delicacy, that is always present in Future Islands tracks. Similarly there are a plethora of tracks from In Evening Air on show this evening, for us 'An Apology' and the wonderful 'Tin Man' are particular highlights of the evening. Sam’s ever distinctive vocal style is so brilliantly evident on 'An Apology', the way he switches between his normal voice to this almost demonic tone has us captivated by his brilliance.

There’s another highlight in the form of 'Seasons (Waiting on You)', which forms part of a huge singalong and another huge hands in the air moment for this packed crowd. Yet as they return for an encore of some of their finer older works we’re left fawning over Sam’s phenomenal dance moves, and his incessantly humble banter as he proceeds to thank everyone possible.


Festival Preview: End of the Road 2015

  • Published in Live

Now celebrating its 10th year, End Of The Road is a folksier alternative to more prominent names. It offers a mecca for foodies (all organic, all local) and lovers of folk and dreamy rock tunes can expect a perfect blend of the tranquil and the lively.

The real-ale soaked Dorset gathering has attracted big names this year, with headliners including shoegazers The War On Drugs who arguably released 2014’s finest record, Lost In The Dream and Sufjan Stevens, who has penned Carrie And Lowell, a contender for 2015’s. They’re joined by Australian psychedelics Tame Impala, who have their hotly anticipated 3rd release coming in July.

There’s a refreshing vibe to the festival and campers are given the space and freedom that the range of music merits. There are no VIP areas so performers are often seen wandering the site. My visit to the festival in 2013 involved a conversation with members of Parquet Courts about the best beer on offer. They were just chilling by the Cider Bus. Yes, there’s a Cider Bus.

The range of performers is staggering but the must-see acts at 2015’s festival include Future Islands, who you’ll know and most-likely love from that Letterman performance. There’s Laura Marling whose soft acoustic tunes are accompanied by a beautifully chilling voice. Superstar slacker Mac DeMarco and afrobeat outfit Django Django bring the perfect hazy summer soundtrack. Alvvays create fuzzy indie-pop in abandon while the legendary Mark Lanegan offers a darker touch.

Torres has a spell-binding rawness in her craft of moody indie-rock tunes. Ought are an exhilarating art-punk band from Montreal, Canada. Wistful folk from Jessica Pratt sounds as if it is lifted straight of the mid-'60s and Happyness’ dreamy lo-fi sound is a mesmeric treat.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg in the range of sun-soaked up-and-coming gems on offer and with wild Peacocks roaming the festival site without a care in the world, End Of The Road 2015 is a truly unique festival. V-Festival it’s not.

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