Watch Future Islands’ Stirring, Powerful Colbert Performance & Stream Their New Album As Long As You Are
Baltimore art-pop warriors Future Islands may be the last band ever to blow up on the strength of a great late-night TV performance. I refer, of course, to the 2014 David Letterman performance — the one that sent Letterman, then in the twilight years of his network-TV career, into giggling delight. Letterman’s not on late-night TV anymore, and musical performances on TV shows have gotten weird, but Future Islands are right there, ready to do great things with their performance slot on Letterman’s old show.
Tomorrow, Future Islands will release the new album As Long As You Are. They’ve already shared early singles “For Sure,” “Thrill,” “Moonlight,” and “Born In A War.” And right now, a day early, the album is streaming online, though it’s streaming in a weird sort of way. If you head over to this site, the site will detect where you are in the world. If enough people from your location are on the site, the album will start playing.
Last night, Stephen Colbert, David Letterman’s successor on the CBS Late Show, had Future Islands as his musical guests. Tomorrow night, the band will play a ticketed livestream show in a Maryland location, with a custom light show and with Phoenix/Bon Iver collaborator Michael Garber directing. As far as I can tell, last night’s Colbert performance was a preview of that livestream, with the band playing on an audience-free soundstage, lights around them in a circle.
Six years ago, Future Islands singer Samuel T. Herring made for a strange, powerful TV presence. He still does. Last night, the band played “For Sure,” and Herring brought the same kind of artful intensity that he brings to actual live shows, with actual audiences. There’s nobody quite like Herring onstage, nobody who brings that same combination of drama and physicality. I don’t know if this particular performance will have any big viral moments, as the first one did, but I do know that Herring has a great bugshit emotional exorcism around the 2:36 mark. Watch the performance below.