Two sets. Three encores. 35 songs. Three-plus hours. By the numbers alone, The Feelies put on a triumphant show this past Saturday at World Café. To watch the band seamlessly transition between songs new and old as well as covers was indeed breathtaking rock and roll.
The Feelies of 2015 were pulsating with all the jangly energy you could have wanted in the mid 1980s, let alone now. Opening with “It’s Only Life,” the title track to their 1988 album Only Life, the Lou Reed-esque vocals of Glenn Mercer set the tone for the night. All of their albums and works were explored, from their 1979 single “Fa Ce-La” to the 1980 breakthrough Crazy Rhythms to 2011’s reunion record Here Before.
Mercer’s voice and guitar layered perfectly with Bill Million’s frantic guitar work and the bass mastery of Brenda Sauter. And the unique dual percussion of drummer Stan Demeski and tambourine, woodblock and everything-in-between specialist Dave Weckerman brought unexpected sound combinations to life.
Just as entertaining as The Feelies themselves was the crowd. Frequently blurting out their loud appreciation with statements about band deserving a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, they got no response from the band as they quickly tuned between numbers. Nearly banter free, Mercer broke ranks to comment on the pleasant smell of an illegal substance wafting in the room and Sauter would quietly say “thank you” into her mic at the end of each set and encores.
And the covers, which The Feelies are well known for, were like unexpected nuggets of excitement when they were performed. There was a rousing take on “Paint It Black” by The Rolling Stones as well as a rocking version of Television’s “See No Evil,” among others.
The Feelies have a fire and tightness that is exciting to see and capture as rock memories. There are bands every rock fan needs to check out just once and The Feelies are one of them.
The Feelies, World Cafe Live