Future Islands ignites Nashville’s Brooklyn Bowl

It was another beautiful night for music in Nashville, Tennessee. The Brooklyn Bowl was packed to capacity with fans eagerly awaiting the performance of Future Islands. This was a show I had been anticipating for a very long time.

Over the past decade, Future Islands has been one of my go-to bands for romantic moments.

Whenever they release a new album, I find myself sharing their songs with my girlfriend, as many people do. Future Islands is a band I can listen to at any time of day, in any mindset, without ever feeling the need to skip a song. I would venture to say they are one of my favorite bands of all time. 

Before experiencing the brilliance of Future Islands, the opener, Ed Schrader’s Music Beat, took the stage. Admittedly, I had only ever heard two songs from this band: their Cartoon Network hit “Sermon” and “Dunce”, which I discovered due to my affinity for musician Dan Deacon. I would classify this band as ‘art rock’ with mixes of punk.

In many ways, it felt avant-garde and the audience seemed to love it.

At one point, Ed mentioned that he was from Utica, NY, and I shouted out, “I am from Utica, NY!” It was incredibly cool to have that connection and to see that, despite how challenging Utica can be, people can still find success after leaving… a sentiment with which he completely agreed and remarked upon as he interacted with me for a few brief moments. 

The stage setup for Future Islands was the most elaborate I had seen in a while, typically something I’d expect at arena shows, not at a 2,000-person venue like Brooklyn Bowl. A giant circular ball stood to the left and a large cube riser, with an archway in the middle, was on the right. They truly went all-out in terms of set design, creating a unique and interesting atmosphere.

When the band took the stage, they emerged from the arch.

Instead of coming out to a ‘walkout song’, lead singer Samuel Herring introduced the band and shared a story about their first time playing in Nashville. It was an inspiring tale of how they went from performing in an empty venue to playing to an at-capacity crowd. They kicked off the music with “King of Sweden” and didn’t relent for the next hour and a half. In many ways, Sam made it feel like a dance party mixed with an exercise routine. I haven’t seen a lead singer like this in a very long time; Herring seemed to expel emotion through his body movements and the crowd danced right along. As I watched the show from various places in the venue, I couldn’t help but notice the amount of people absorbing his energy and losing their minds. Overall, this was one of the best shows I have experienced in a long time. There were no down moments in the set and I can genuinely say that fans got their money’s worth — and then some! 10/10 

Photography by Derek Jones

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