Live Review: Converse Rubber Tracks present Future Islands at the Sinclair

Pants were ripped.

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It ain’t a party until you dance your pants off. That was the sentiment at this past Thursday night’s Future Islands show at the Sinclair—the latest in Converse Rubber Tracks’ new series of killer free shows, most announced a week or two before—where frontman Samuel T. Herring made good on his promise to dance until he ripped his skinny jeans open.

There was a already a line of anxious young people snaking its way down Church Street and around the coner before opener Bad Rabbits, bringing the funk as usual, took the stage. T beauty and the beautiful agony of Rubber Tracks’ free show programming is that they offer a limited amount of spots (via an online RSVP), in order to keep the shows intimate, and an RSVP doesn’t necessarily guarantee admittance—so it behooves atendees to get there early.

Those who did so Thursday night were rewarded for their efforts. To underestimate Herring, who more closely remsembles a middle-aged accountant than a rock star, would be a grave mistake. Gifted with an inimitable, singularly strange and hypnotic set of pipes that alternate between throaty crooning to guttural howls that border on animalistic, Herring is a captivating frontman. His unassuming style belies an inner freak—in a good way—one who reveals himself in his onstage moves: Unfettered, uninhibited thrusting and jiving like a man possessed. All the better to rip one’s pants open, my dear.

The Baltimore outfit gave the fans what they wanted, running through hits like “Balance” and “Seasons (Waiting on You)” to the roaring delight of a crowd whose herky-jerk dance moves sought to imitate Herring’s. [Side note: Who knew so many Bahston bros were Future Island fans? A collective of flat-brimmed baseball hat wearing 20-something dudes hollered between songs, fists pumping their approval.]

Dripping with the sweat he’d flung out to the crowd as he jazzercized with abandon through a roughly two-hour set, Herring and company treated an amped-up crowd to not one but two encores. Running high on adrenaline and good vibes, and reluctant to leave, many showgoers paused to take advantage of the ever-present Rubber Tracks photo booth (this one outfitted with a tripy whale backdrop) before pouring out into the night.

Here’s looking forward to the next installment of what’s shaping up to be some excellent free programming from Bowery Boston and the Converse Rubber Tracks team.


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