With new album out, As Long As You Are, the guys from Future Islands were desperate to celebrate with a show of sorts, and that they did, treat ing their fans to their only live show of 2020. The Baltimore-based group have been road warriors for over a decade, touring extensively every year without fail, but 2020 is the first year the band will not hit the road since 2008. So this must have felt somewhat bizarre for them.

As Long As You Are looks to the past as well as the future, confronting old ghosts and embracing a new hope. An honest album about trust, redemption and knowing when to let go, this record allows old wounds to heal and bringing painful chapters to a close. The album features the singles Born In A War, Moonlight, Thrill, and For Sure, giving it a more subdued vibe than previous work. Signalling a new era for Future Islands, touring drummer Mike Lowry officially joins as a fully-fledged member and songwriter bolstering the founding trio of William Cashion, Samuel T. Herring and Gerrit Welmers. Together, the four-piece took on official production duties for the first time, co-producing As Long As You Are with engineer Steve Wright at his Wrightway Studios in Baltimore.

For their 1,235th live show, the group moved online for a one-off global livestream event on 9 October, which had some of the classic feels of their gigs. With the show that they provide on stage, there was a platform for them to do that with no heckling, a tad strange for a gig of this kind. But we still got a little chat from Samuel T. Herring as well as many of those trademark dance moves. 

The gig itself was filmed in Maryland but felt catered for the UK fans with a scheduled live kick off time of 8pm BST. Not only did it reveal some of the tracks from the new records and old ones (Seasons did certainly come up in the set list) but we were indulged by a bespoke one-off light show created by light artist Pierre Claude (The Strokes, Phoenix, Gesaffelstein).

With an hour set, and then a three track encore, there was a feeling that they wanted to stick mostly to the conventional gig structure, without the crowd. There was an artistic element to the staging, but I don’t think that is any different for the band, when we consider the performance of this band, namely Sam Herring in particular. A wonderful alternative, it was great to see the band enthusiastic to celebrate their record release and organise this streamed gig.