Hey WPRB listeners (and readers!), this is Jake again letting you know about the Feelies’ show last Sunday at Maxwell’s in Hoboken. As I got the tickets, I thought it would be a good opportunity to hear cuts from their new album Here Before, which addresses the themes of returning home, starting again, and staying in the game. Maxwell’s has been something like home-turf for them since they started playing in ‘77.They reunited after a 16 year hiatus in 2007, and the new record is the first in 20. I was looking forward to hearing the new record live, especially since it sounds like a return of the jangly acoustic pop of their earlier records but with more personal lyrics about the band itself, and about happily reuniting and recording after being apart for so long.
The band opened with “When Company Comes” and played tracks from the new record, including “Bluer Skies,” “Nobody Knows,” and “Should Be Gone.” They played with total ease and confidence—the band reinforced Glenn Mercer’s airy delivery and repetitious lyrics, and everyone built off each others’ quick play. No talk in between songs either – except for a joking “Happy Holidays” from Bill Million at the start, but again, they don’t really need it. During the second set, the band played more of their older stuff, with a bombastic four song finale starting with “Loveless Love,” moving into “Time is Right,” and ending with the driving “Moscow Nights” and “Crazy Rhythms”.
After they rushed off stage, the members returned to play an encore of covers, including The Velvet Underground and the Stooges, followed by another encore of The Beatles and “Fa Ce La”. The covers seem a total change of style owing to the Feelies’ own unique sound, but they put so much energy into them that they didn’t sound out of place with their originals either. This is a band of music-heads, and they show it with how much fun they have in paying homage to their idols (Especially Mercer, who was a total surprise when he belted out some very oily Iggy Pop vocals). I thought that would be it for the night, but as I was walking out, I nearly ran into the band coming back to play yet another set of covers, with two new tracks and an excellent cover of the Doors’ “Take it as it Comes”. They left the stage again I thought, “Okay. It’s pretty late in the evening. That’s probably it.” But I didn’t make it too far before the band again rushed to the stage and started off with two fiery Rolling Stones covers, “Rocks Off” and “Paint it Black.” I thought to myself, what if they played non-stop all through July 4th, constantly entering and exiting the stage? Or, what if the rest of my life were just a series of encores by the Feelies, punctuated with short breaks when I could eat and sleep for three minutes before the next encore began?
Well, that would be all right, actually.
Jake Sanders is a contributor to the WPRB blog. He’ll be covering more shows in Philadelphia and New Jersey for the blog in the next few months.