Unsolicited Feelies Review
Maxwell’s (Hoboken, NJ)
Well, the Feelies are back together, which must mean we’re only a few months away from the inevitable reunion of Reeves Nevo & the Cinch. +100 Obscure Eighties Reference points for me, thank you very much.
Reunited and apparently feeling pretty good, the Feelies played a handful of shows at their old neighborhood haunt Maxwell’s this week in preparation for their big Battery Park Independence Day gig with Sonic Youth (insert your own Starbucks joke here). These hometown performances sold out faster than Vanilla Ice; luckily, I’ve been down with Bill Million since high school. This earned me a spot on the guest list for last night’s show.
Look, I really have nothing else to brag about in life, so just give me this. Give me my goddamn Feelies connection. Thank you.
Turning up as the sun was going down, I wasn’t sure if this was a rock gig or a retreat for investment bankers. There were so many middle aged dudes in slacks and polos, all nursing mixed drinks and yammering on about “the good old days.” I felt a little out of place in my Batman shirt and Salvation Army pants. I’m sure I looked like somebody’s bored kid they forgot to leave at home.
But I tease the devoted Feelies fans. These folks showed up early and were hurtin’ for some strum. Around nine-thirty, they got their first massive dose when the Pride of Haledon hit the stage. The Feelies played two sets this pleasant Summer’s eve, whipping up a frenzy of kinetic guitar pop like 1986 was yesterday.
Singer/guitarist Glenn Mercer’s leads cut through the club’s hot air like a Ginsu; Million rocked hard with a determined look on his mug all night. The rhythm section—drummers Dave Weckerman, Stan Demeski, and bassist Brenda Sauter—was exceptional. Yessir, you’d never know the band behind such caffeinated indie classics as “Raised Eyebrows” and “Fa Cé-La” had aged at all—unless you looked at them. Then you’d probably be all like, “Oh, they’re older now!”
The Feelies did three encores last night, just enough to satiate the rabid Garden State fans who were stomping the floor and clapping for them after the end of the first set. Rumors of the band working on new material are apparently quite true – at one point last night they dropped a completely unknown song on the crowd that was built around a rather gloomy bass line. Sauter later confirmed this was the tune’s virgin performance. I wish I could remember the name. That would be some useful information.
Not so useful information: Glenn Mercer wore sunglasses the entire night. Indoors. He looked like acting President of the Richard Hell fan club. Not that I’m knockin’ him. I wish I looked like Richard Hell sometimes.