Surviving Virality: A Night at 9:30 Club With Future Islands

Originally posted on Brightest Young Things on May 5, 2014

On March 25th, right as Future Islands’ infamous Letterman performance was taking over the internet share-cycle, Noisey’s Sophie Weiner — whom had been a witness to Future Island’s talents pre-Late Show — wrote a great article called “Your Favorite Band Went Viral, Don’t Freak Out” in which she tries to assuage her fellow fans (and herself) that “despite all [the shit that comes with a band blowing up], it’s good to remind ourselves that bands you love getting big can bring many positives along with the bummers.”

Like a sold-out headlining show at Greatest Venue In The Country, the 9:30 Club.

However, it’s interesting to note her main, detailed concern about the bands quick ascendance to fame has:

“It’s worrying to think about the band becoming a joke, or for them to forever be known as ‘that band with the crazy dancing dude,’ especially as the humor conveyed through a .gif is far from the dominant vibe of their art.”

And I get that.

As a lifelong Modest Mouse fan who had to see the dark and witty Isaac Brock turn into “the ‘Float On’ guy,” I understand the concern that the emotional sincerity of the ‘Future Islands Experience,’ which was cultivated by the band and its fans over time, might get diluted with this new influx of curious ears — and it sort of did in Modest Mouse’s case — but from the performance Future Islands gave and the adoration the audience responded with, I don’t think you have to worry much Sophie.

Yes there was an obvious distinction of new-comers and life-longers — it was like being able to easily spot the tourists from the natives when you go to California — but everyone seemed genuine in their intentions to be there.

As the band ripped through a set that pleased both diehards and those, like myself, who had devoured the new album but wanted to experience the older material in a more authentic environment, there was a communal sense of appreciation from both a band which probably never thought they would see the day where they would be playing a sold-out 9:30 Club gig and the fans that could sense the palpable gratitude in the atmosphere.

Don’t worry, Sophie; we’ll all float on alright.