Tuesday night at the Red Palace was pretty much brought to us by Baltimore. All three bands that night hail from our neighboring city to the north and couldn’t Bmore proud of it (ha ha).
First off was a garage-punk duo that reminded me of the first guy I ever met that snorted his adderall. With a set-up of just a bass, abused floor tom, and minimal lighting Ed Schrader’s Music Beat started their set to a room of maybe 15 people. The songs were super short and featured repeated lyrics that seemed hugely appropriate to their vibe and image (stuff like “I can’t stop eating sugar” and “My mind is broken”). The singer reminded me of Iggy Pop right from the moment he wiped off his shirt. This is a likeness that made these guys get some hollers from the crowd. Plus they had some pretty cool Beavis and Butthead t-shirts.
Next up was Baltimore’s curiously named band Thank You. This trio of guys is label mates on Thrill Jockey with the headliner of the evening, Future Islands. Thank You has opened for some bands you may have actually heard of like Ariel Pink and Battles. They just put out an album called Golden Worry a few months ago and evidently played those cacophonous songs for their set.
Honestly, my favorite part of their performance was the sound check, which wasn’t terribly terribly long, but did get quite involved. For most bands this would have been irritating, but these guys were so chill that I sort of found it fun to watch. After a few minutes of adding reverb to every microphone and making sure we could loudly hear every twang of a guitar string, the band got to work. I found their sound differed between many of the songs and was oddly distracted by their drummer’s super short jorts. At the end of the set Thank You thanked us and told us to check out their new release at the merch table.
Once Thank You stepped offstage the sparse Tuesday night crowd quickly inched all the way up to the stage to see the band most of us came for, Future Islands. I need to add a disclaimer here to say that not only have I already seen this band more times than any other, but also that Future Islands is the only group I have paid to download on iTunes. Obviously your charming reviewer is a big fan, but I really can’t see how anybody could feel differently.
Future Island shows are always an experience. They have one of the most dynamic, charismatic, and physically active singers around. He throws himself across the stage punching the air, and nearly falling every time on these ragged carpets. This is magnified by the other two member’s stoic and stationary approach to the live show experience. This sweaty energy is totally infectious and I will be the first to admit that I danced like nobody was watching! The music they play is synth-heavy and lyrically passionate with the same intensity as their visual performance. They call themselves post-wave and, in my opinion, romanticize melancholy. Just writing that sentence made me think of Morrissey by the way.
Most of their set was split between favorites from their album, In Evening Air, and songs they tantalizingly introduced as being brand new. I am tingling with excitement to get my hands on that new stuff, as it is just stylistically different to be exciting without throwing you for a loop and completely changing the vibe. The new songs we heard live Tuesday night make me think that I may even give iTunes my money again! Future Island’s music is absolutely magnetic and if you are even slightly curious about what this trio is all about you NEED to watch this video below of a live show of theirs from our collective North Carolina home (Future Island guys went to school there and so did I).
Just watch and enjoy (and pretend you weren’t too lazy to come out)…