Future Islands is enjoying some newly found notoriety after their performance on Letterman last week. It's gotten over a million views on YouTube already. If you haven't seen it, stop reading this and watch it all the way to the end so that you get to see Letterman's reaction.
I was lucky enough to catch a Future Islands show over a year ago in a small venue when they were on tour with my friend's band Talk Normal (another great band worth checking out). I'd never heard of them but was blown away.
So I was excited last week to see the most enthusiastic response I've ever seen Letterman give a musical guest: "I'll take all of that you got!" You can tell from the look on his face that he's seen it all in show business and he loved their performance.
The life of an up-and-coming band is hard. It's not as glamorous as I imagined when I was 14 and starting my first rock band. The night I saw Future Islands they were playing a dingy venue in Jacksonville, FL called Jack Rabbit's. After the show they'd all have pile into a van and share a room in a cheap motel. It was a Sunday night and there was a decent crowd, but it certainly wasn't packed. But Samuel T. Herring, the band's singer, gave his performance more effort than I had seen in a long time. He was committed all the way and transcended the space and the context of the gig. It was inspiring.
That night it was obvious that we were watching true artists, fully committed hard-asses with a vision that they were going to see through to the end. And, you can see it on Letterman. Letterman himself recognized it. It's great to see the public start to reward them with attention they absolutely deserve.