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Baltimore's Future Islands Featured at FreeFest

The local band opened up for a strong crowd at Virgin Mobile FreeFest on Saturday.

 

Future Islands is at that point in their career where they can play at one of the biggest live shows in the country—Virgin Mobile FreeFest—but still be able to slip into the crowd after their act and watch other bands without being swarmed by fans.

They're big, but not BIG.

During the Baltimore-based band's 1 p.m. set at the Festival stage at FreeFest, lead singer Samuel T. Herring told the crowd, "We're happy to be a part of something so close to home."

The synth-pop trio has been described as "retro-sounding pop, with twinkling synths, heavy bass lines and Herring's gravelly crooning," by the Baltimore Sun. Along with Herring, the band features keyboardist Gerrit Williams and bassist William Cashion. Together, they've been a rising-star of the Baltimore music scene, putting out two albums in the last three years and gaining national attention.

"We're at the point where we're an established band," said Herring. "We work really hard at what we do."

At FreeFest, it was Herring's electric stage presence that ignited a wary crowd who were just beginning their day. On stage, Herring is like a man posessed by the music, swinging with the bass and belting out the lyrics. By the end of their set, Herring was drenched in sweat, despite it being a cool 60 degrees outside.

"I have a love for the stage and performance art," said Herring, after the set. "My style has always been pretty out and out there with audience. I'm trying to connect the emotions live with the song."

As the band sat inside the press tent, Cashion and Herring answered most of the questions while Williams, who works hard on stage supplying the electronic rhythms that animate the group's music, sat quiet.

After FreeFest the band is going on a month-long November tour that will take them up and down the East Coast. After that, they said, they'll take a break from touring to concentrate on writing new music, and reunite with their old band—Art Lord and the Self Portrait—for a show in February.

Herring said he was eager to see the rock icons ZZ Top perform and wanted to check out Washinton D.C. rockers Dismemberment Plan as the band finished up its set during the afternoon at FreeFest.

As they left the press tent, Cashion and Williams turned left, and Herring, wearing a gray backpack, went right and darted off into the crowd unnoticed.

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