Future Islands / Dope Body / Du Blonde @ Glasgow Barrowlands, 9 September
It would take a formidable soul indeed to upstage a leading man as uniquely theatrical as Samuel T Herring, but tonight Future Islands' comrades are rising to the challenge. The diminuitive Du Blonde fronts up to a lean crowd, but as the artist formerly known as Beth Jeans Houghton rumbles through the stormy Black Flag from Welcome Back To Milk, it's clear the Newcastle native has embraced her ferocious side. Houghton tackles the quirky Mind Is On My Mind with single-handed verve (minus Herring's cameo from the record), and heartfelt soul ballad Hunter shows off the singer's winsome, husky vibrato whilst sending shivers deliciously up spines.
Du Blonde's tough girl act paves the way perfectly for the rougher, sweatier antics of Baltimore noise rockers Dope Body. Lead singer Andrew Laumann is quick to shed his shirt and dance away to the defiant Road Dogs, a human maelstrom of twirled microphone stand and swiveling Mick Jagger snake hips. In the flesh the group are less skittish and more cohesive than their eclectic recorded output, and it makes for a captivating riot.
You could feasibily call it a night on the strength of the support acts alone, but the brilliant best has just erupted onto the stage. Whether Cossack dancing, high kicking or abruptly stage-diving his way through the bulk of 2014 breakthrough Singles, Herring has the packed-out venue spellbound from start to finish. His mesmerising stage persona, an earnest performance art piece of chest thumping and death metal growls (picture Mike Patton fronting a new wave band), take Future Islands' exquisite recordings to even greater emotional heights. Spirit and The Chase ellicit the kind of vociferous applause usually reserved for an encore moment, as a perspiration-soaked Herring ("I'm getting a little wet up here; hope you're getting a little wet out there," comes a cheeky quip) gives himself over bodily to his craft. So many months on the road, but they routinely leave us marvelling at the vitality of their collective force tonight.