|Photos by Kevin Norris|
With Gross Ghost, there’s always been a trade-off between their live shows and the recorded music. On record, the catchy melodies come through loud any clear, but the live energy is lack. On stage, they’ve rarely played in places with sound systems good enough to add juice to the guitars and keep the vocal melodies clear. In City Plaza, the band finally captured both.
This was the best Gross Ghost has ever sounded live and the timing couldn’t be better with a new album out in a few weeks. It was difficult to really judge their new songs before as they’d only been heard in small clubs. In City Plaza it was clear that this next album is one to look forward to.
Future Islands took the stage next after a generous introduction from Hopscotch co-founder Greg Lowenhagen where he explained how the band worked its way up from the Berkeley Theater in year one to City Plaza.
No stage is too big for Future Islands. Front man Sam Herring will make use of the whole thing. His sweeping, exaggerated arm swings, first pumps, and jump steps need all the room they can get, too.
Herring is incredibly theatrical on stage, but it’s totally earnest. His ferocious growl is so guttural because it can’t be any other way. His chest slaps are so hard because any softer and they would be a lie. Herring seems like the type of person to go full speed at everything he does and it makes for a compelling live show.