28 May 2020
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Future Islands with Silicon @ Powerstation Auckland - 16/12/2017

19 Dec 2017 // A review by Paul Goddard
This dude can dance. He is on another planet. His facial expressions show he is 100% committed to whatever it is he is doing and he doesn't give a shit about who is watching or what they think. I am on KRd walking to the Powerstation and the aforementioned guy who is off his head on god knows what carries on about his business.

This gig is going to be amazing. The Powerstation is sold out (even the PM is here). Future Islands are a unique band and we are also going to get to see Kody Neilson. He was billed as Silicon tonight and I was expecting the laid-back synth-driven funk from that debut album but with everything Kody does we should learn to expect the unexpected and Mike Logie (ex The Mint Chicks/Die! Die! Die!) is on stage and a drum kit?

So tonight, we don't get Silicon we get Kody's latest project. Mike is on keys and Kody is playing a side facing drum kit. He is actually a really good drummer. We shouldn't be surprised, Kody and Mike are amongst the most innovative artists NZ has produced. Constantly pushing boundaries and not caring what anyone else thinks. The soundscapes they are creating tonight are more upbeat and frenetic than we heard through Silicon. Kody is clearly enjoying being side stage instead of front and each song melds into the next, building and dropping and taking unexpected twists. We are all connected by computers and electronica nowadays so the beats and bleeps emanating from the stage tonight are mood enhancers that encapsulate soul. Music from the soul is at the core of everything that Kody has ever done. It is genius. Like watching Mogwai with synths.

The Future Islands story goes something like this. Band plays decent synth pop-infused tunes and largely gets ignored. Band plays on a TV show and goes viral. Don't get me wrong, they have put in the hard yards and toured constantly since forming in 2005. If you have never heard of Future Islands go to YouTube and watch them. This is a band that needs to be seen as well as heard.

The stage is simple, no big light show just a plain backlight and it makes tonight feel even more intimate. Future Islands make interesting music. Making interesting music is a goal every artist should aim for. There is depth to it, darkness and light and when you have a frontman like Sam Herring it takes everything to another level. He has a way of connecting with people that I don't think any other frontman comes close to. Every word and sound that comes from him is articulated in a way that connects. Not in a bullshit rockstar way either. Sam literally pours his body and soul into every line, every word. He doesn't have an amazing voice but he is unique and that is far more important. He is the portal and conduit for what he sees and hears. That might translate into a piece of awkward dad dancing or even a bit of Kozac dancing like we were treated to during "Staring at the Sun". You never know what to expect, from guttural doom metal growls to high pitched squeals Sam has no fear and will take each song in any direction he chooses. What the crowd sees and hears is what he feels at that moment.

The result is mesmerising. The songs lift and every person in the room can feel the connection, the chemistry.

The dude can dance. He is from another planet. A Future Island which is not isolated, he comes from a place that is connected by a smile, a look, a feeling. He is 100% committed and he does care, he wants to connect, he wants you to feel it too. Strip away the bullshit just be happy being happy. Judging by the smiling faces tonight we are all there with him.


Review written by Paul Goddard
 

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