Hard-haul Baltimore band sees the future, and it’s all good
There is one music story to gladden the heart this year. It’s one of those all-round favourites, the tale of a band who’ve become an overnight success after numerous albums, tours and years on the go. It’s also the story of how a random TV appearance can do wonders for you.
US synthpoppers Future Islands went from “who dat?” to “WTF!” after a March 3rd appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman. Forget about the three albums before Singles came along. Forget about the endless shows. (In Irish indie circles, their first headlining 2009 show in Whelan’s has become the GPO of Easter 1916 in Irish indie circles.) Forget about everything, bar those three minutes and 40 seconds on the TV.
It’s rare to see an actual tipping point happen in front of your very eyes. We’ve seen acts like The National go large after years and years of trying, but can’t attribute that to one appearance. But Future Islands did it with hundreds of thousands of people at homse watching Sam Herring’s visceral and unstoppable performance.
As their profile has soared, crowds have been turning out at numerous festivals just to seem them. From SXSW in March to the Great Escape earlier this month, Future Islands have become the hottest ticket around. There was so much demand for their Irish show in Vicar Street later this year that another one was added.
Future Islands are reaping the rewards of the long run. But it’s also an indication that, even in a time when social media and new marketing machinations are the way of the walk, something as old-fashioned as a knockout appearance on a TV chat show can have the most amazing knock-on effects.
David Letterman with Future Islands