Samuel Herring of Future Islands could have been the greatest black metal singer of all time. Every so often, his frightening, full throated growl comes roaring out and even in his calmest moments, Herring prowls the stage like a caged jungle cat.
The metal world’s loss is a boon for the rest of us, as the singular synth pop of Future Islands provides an unexpected canvass for his grand gesticulations and captivating vocals. At the band's intimate performance as part of KCRW’s Apogee Sessions, Herring and his bandmates not only gave a funny and revealing interview but were granted the chance to return to the small stages of their early years, far removed from the massive crowds of last weekend’s Coachella performance.
So even though the band was electric, it felt something like Future Islands: Unplugged. The show also worked as a table setter for this week’s run of small shows as part of Goldenvoice Presents April. In this setting, each member has the chance to shine. Bassist William Cashion is essentially the band’s lead musician and the uptempo and unforgiving arrangements of their incredible new album The Far Field -- which they played nearly in full -- reveal him as one of the sharpest bassists around. Combined with the pillowy synths of Gerrit Welmers and the expert timekeeping of touring drummer Mike Lowry, Future Islands announced themselves as a band that is best appreciated in a live setting.
Be sure to tune into KCRW’s “Morning Becomes Eclectic” on May 9 to listen to the band’s interview and performance. Check out photos from last night’s event by photographer Brian Feinzimer above and click here to get tickets to select Future Islands shows on AXS.com.