I went to a Future Islands gig last week, on the spur of the moment, in Glasgow. It wasn’t planned, I didn’t buy the ticket and in fact I’d never heard of them before. But I loved it.
And when I was there I felt moved by the experience.
The venue filled up and the darkness was punctuated by atmospheric smoke and coloured lights, and the bar and mirrors and silhouettes of people reduced to featureless black shapes with the lights behind them, flickering, creating a sense of being in a trance.
Alcohol was consumed, contributing to the not-really-there-but-right-THERE feeling.
I wrote down my thoughts immediately after – the lasting impression I have of the night:
Things feel surreal. Dream like. Blue tinted. Cocktails and whispers and whisky breath. Darkness simply a lack of light and the dancing enchantment of shapes; circles and shapes cutting through smoke.
Blue light to red. Nudging skin with other revellers, each and all feeling the beat inside. Beating through blood. Pulsing.
Red light to blue.
And the crush of heat and warmth and sweat at once claustrophobic and comforting; a shared experience with mostly strangers on a midweek night. Where did everyone come from? Doesn’t anyone have a job? And what would it look like without the crowd? An empty warehouse with beer on the floor and empty plastic cups. Scraps of tickets. The lingering absence of sound; eerie and overwhelming. Silence laden with anticipation. Rafters and tape and extractor fans, cold, unnecessary. Mirrors reflecting back nothing but light bulbs and doors. Concrete floors. A vacuum of compressed experience that never was. Tiny interactions and satisfactions jumbled into nothing.
One night only. It’s not going to be you.
But so many people came together to watch and listen. Jumping up and down. Electric sound. I could feel it inside, the music and the beat and the vibe and being alive and being there.
They’re playing Iceland Airwaves in November. I’d like to be there, too.
I wished I’d bought some merchandise now. The LP perhaps, for the cover art alone. And as I left I saw this image and it felt like magic. Outside it was raining.