by Mike Faloon
I've never quite understood the purpose of publishing show reviews. Space fillers? Throw away assignments to occupy cub reporters? There's always an air of "Dude, you missed it!"
This review is as a plea, a favor: if you hear of an upcoming live appearance by the Feelies please contact me. Prior to the date in question would be best. I saw the Feelies recently, for the first time, nearly 20 years since first hearing Only Life, and they were fantastic.
I've never been able to accurately describe the Feelies without evoking bands that I loathe. The Feelies use two drummers, just like the Allman Brothers. The Feelies' songs are mellow and repetitive and often drone, just like the Grateful Dead. And their live set, based on a recent Bowery Ballroom show, sound just like their records, a phrase I first uttered when, in my youth, much to my shame, I marveled at how much the "Eagles Live" version of "Hotel California" was just like the studio version of "Hotel California." The Feelies sound like none of those bands. They indulge in a bunch of seemingly misguided practices and they end up sounding like a beautiful mix of the the Velvet Underground and the Ramones.
Aside from two or three quietly rendered "Thank yous" from bassist Brenda Sauter, there was no stage banter, no direct interaction with the crowd. No one seemed to mind. In between songs there was a lot of talking--What record was that from? How does this compare to their 4th of July set? Are they going to record again? -- but the audience was relatively quiet awaiting the next song. No shouts for obscure songs. Just an apparent trust that the Feelies were always going to make the right choice. It's amazing how delicate loud, fast music can be. I can only hope there is more to come from the rejuvenated Feelies. Please write if you hear of anything.
The Feelies "Away" Live at the Bowery Ballroom (9/21/08)
The Feelies "Crazy Rhythms" Live