FEELIES! FEELIES! FEELIES!

Haven’t seen this video before.  One of the rockingest songs on their album Time For A Witness.

 

Not sure if I have seen this video, either.  You can’t not be happy listening to this song.

 

A pretty cover of VU’s “After Hours, played during a soundcheck from their July 4th night at Maxwell’s.   Maxwell’s is going to close at the end of this month.  It means a lot to a lot of people.  I only went there one night, but it was where I got to see my favorite band, and I will miss it.

 

All these videos were uploaded by the wonderful @zippy49.  Thank you, Janice.

A Carnival Of Sorts

So, I am coming home from picking up some groceries this past Wednesday night, and I get a call on my cellphone from a number I do not recognize. It was a New Jersey number.

My friend Chris from the Galaxie 500 mailing list had recently sent me an email, offering me some comfort regarding my recent crappy life events. He also mentioned that Stanley [Demeski, drummer for the Feelies] was looking forward to seeing me when his band would be in town to play Millennium Park on June 29th.

I gave Chris my cellphone number and told him if Stanley wanted to give me a call, he was welcome to.

So, he gave me a call! We talked briefly on the phone, enough for me to insert my foot gracelessly in my mouth. I was telling him that Millennium Park was a great place to play, and said I had seen a puppet show there. After I hung up the phone, I immediately thought of this.

Anyways, he was going to give me a call when they got into town on Sunday, but the plane arrived later than anticipated.

On Monday, as I was headed downtown (I had taken the day off from work), I hesitatingly rang Stanley up. He was once again very nice, etc. He said they were getting ready to do a soundcheck.

So, once I got into Union Station, I made a beeline for the Pritzker Pavilion. I was able to catch the last couple songs of their soundcheck.

I went up briefly after the soundcheck had finished. I waved at Stanley and he walked over. He was very friendly. I said I was putting in an advanced request for a setlist and he said he would see what he could do.

I met up with my friend Andy, who was just getting off work. We grabbed a bite to eat, then moseyed over to the Pritzker Pavilion via the lovely Lurie Gardens.

We soon arrived at the beautiful lawn in front of the Pavilion.

Yes, they sold beer there!

There was an opening band — Icy Demons, a nice band from Chicago with a strong emphasis on keyboards.

As it started to get dark, the colored lights came on.

More and more people arrived as the Feelies prepared to play.

And play they did!

Here’s the setlist (thanks to Gret Kot)

1. On the Roof
2. High Road
3. Nobody Knows
4. Let’s Go
5. Deep Fascination
6. Higher Ground
7. The Final Word
8. Time Is Right
9. Away
10. Slipping (Into Something)
11. Doin’ It Again
12. Too Far Gone
13. Raised Eyebrows
14. Crazy Rhythms

Encore:
15. Carnival of Sorts (R.E.M. cover)
16. Fa Ce-La
17. What Goes On (Velvet Underground cover)

Second encore:
18. Paint it Black (Rolling Stones cover)

“Nobody Knows” and “Time Is Right” were new songs. I had heard “Time Is Right” at Maxwell’s last year but hadn’t heard “Nobody Knows” before.

They had a wonderful amount of energy. They played one of my favorite songs “Away” particularly freaky fast.

Near the end of their set (before the encores), a gangly kid started dancing up and down the aisles and in front of the stage. When the band kicked into “Crazy Rhythms” a number of people spontaneously joined him. A whole bunch of people stood up. All of the sudden the sedate crowd was in a rock ‘n roll mood. It was a beautiful thing to be a part of, especially since the Feelies are so near and dear to my heart. Thank you, mysterious gangly kid!

The crowd remained standing for the two encores, and would have loved to have more if the city had allowed the band to continue.

I was happily surprised to see them kick into “A Carnival Of Sorts (Boxcars)”, a great song off of R.E.M.’s first record Chronic Town. I imagine this was the song they played for a recent tribute to R.E.M. at Carnegie Hall.

They did a great rocking version of the VU’s “What Goes On”. I would have preferred them to end with the Beatles’ “Everybody’s Got Something To Hide (Except For Me And My Monkey)” instead of “Paint It Black”, but I’LL LET IT SLIDE.

Great, great, great, great, great, great show.

I went afterwards and talked to Stanley again. He gave me his setlist. I involuntarily laughed like Jabba the Hutt as I grasped it. A woman with a professional looking camera asked me if she could take a picture of the setlist. I of course let her, because that’s what I am all about.

Stanley said there was some shindig upstairs inside the Pritzker Pavilion which he needed to attend. I said he could give me call if he wanted to grab a beer, as I’d be downtown for a bit.

Before we left, I took a pic near the stage, looking out.

And, a pic from the lawn, with the Pavilion all lit up like a metal flower.

Andy and I roamed about for a bar and found one at the Hard Rock Hotel. What’s more rock ‘n roll than a $5.25 bottle of Budweiser? *I* sure as hell don’t know.

Stanley didn’t end up calling me, but I was perfectly fine with that. It was a beautiful evening — beautiful weather, beautiful music, beautiful everything.

Thanks to the Feelies, thanks to Millennium Park, thanks to the city of Chicago, thanks to summer, thank you, thank you, thank you.

UPDATE:

My mate Andy found the picture of me holding the setlist on Flickr! Thanks, Andy!!

The rest of the Flickr set

The Detailed Description Of My Recent Marital Woes Has Probably Spoiled My Chances Of Eating Dinner With The Feelies

But I might be feeling a lot better by the time Lollapalooza rolls around, if TV on the Radio wants to get brunch.

Thanks to everyone who has commented on my crappy marriage post. I really was going back and forth about whether to post. It made me feel better. I tell you, writing stuff in general feels good.

I’m taking care of myself, and it’s nice to know there are sympathetic ears out there in the Internet swamp.

Gold stars for all of you.

And the Feelies, I realize you’re probably in town for a short time, you might have prior plans, you might have family here. I have no expectations of your visit outside enjoying the hell out of your show at Millennium Park.

Still, email me at heyfeeliesareyouhungry@gmail.com if you want to grab a bite to eat. I’ll even buy the first round of drinks.

The Feelies Are Coming To Chicago!!!

Holy crap. The Feelies are coming! The Feelies are coming!

And, apparently they are playing a 14 hour show!

June 29 The Feelies and Icy Demons Time 7:30pm – 9:30am
Don’t miss New Jersey’s legendary and influential rock/punk band The Feelies first Chicago reunion show. Formed in the seventies, the band released four albums of shimmering soundscapes with multiple guitar layers. This highly anticipated reunion brings The Feelies’ distinctive sound back to live performance for long-time fans and a generation of fans who have only savored their long out-of-print records and CDs.

(via)

Upcoming Feelies Interview on NPR’s Sound Opinions


Apparently, Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot of the Chicago Public Radio program Sound Opinions were also in town for the recent Feelies shows at Maxwell’s in NJ.

Why didn’t they try and speak with *me*? I’m from Chicago, and could give them a unique Chicagoan’s take on the Feelies. Do they hate Lake Michigan? Do they hate the Cubs? Do they hate deep dish pizza? Are they ashamed of their Chicago brethren? We Chicagoans haveta stick together, guys!!!

Anyways, they sat down with the Feelies for an interview, which will be broadcast this Friday (07/18). Around that time, the show should also be available via download on their website.

We’re Gonna Have A Real Good Time Together


Phew!

I’m back from my whirlwind trip to NY/NJ. I’ve got two or three posts in me to describe my journey, but I might as well start out with the whole purpose of the trip: The Feelies!

After a long day of travel, blogger-lunching and wandering around Manhattan, I caught the PATH train to Hoboken late Tuesday afternoon, the location of Maxwell’s, where the Feelies were playing that night.

Hoboken seemed very nice. It reminded me a lot of Evanston, a northern suburb of Chicago. For those from Hoboken reading this unfamiliar with Evanston, Evanston is a lot like Hoboken.

I had been to the NYC area one time before, with MizSplotchy back in 2000. At that time I was subscribed to a Galaxie 500/Luna mailing list, dedicated to the band Galaxie 500 and all its offshoots, run by the lovely and talented Brit Andy Aldridge. I’m not sure how it happened, but I must have mentioned on the list that I was going to New York. I then corresponded with fellow listmember Chris, and he trusted me enough to not be a stab-happy Internet psychopath, and was willing to actually meet me in person.

He and his wife took MizSplotchy and I to their favorite Mexican restaurant in Greenwich Village, and then gave us a great little driving tour of Manhattan before dropping us at our hotel. It was a great pleasure getting to meet and talk with them. They is good people.

I had exchanged emails a couple times since then with Chris, but hadn’t really kept in touch. Still, after I found out about the Feelies shows at Maxwell’s, I emailed him and asked him if he was going (and if he remembered me). Yes, he remembered me, and yes, he was going. He suggested that we meet up at Maxwell’s for dinner prior to the show (there’s a restaurant there as well).

So, I walked the relatively long walk from the PATH station up Washington Street to Maxwell’s. Chris was running a little late so I just milled about on the corner in front of the bar. Then I saw Dave Weckerman (one of the freakin’ Feelies!) round the corner and my already happy day brightened up considerably. I walked up to him and introduced myself. We talked for ten minutes or so, about the Feelies, Maxwell’s, Roky Erickson, etc., then he went on his way. I had personally met a Feelie! Yayyyy!

Soon after, Chris and his wife showed up and we headed into the restaurant. It was around 8:15pm, and the show was scheduled to start at 9:00pm. It took a long time to get seated, so we stood around a bit and had some drink. Chris had some friends with him, too — Bowman, a really nice guy from Brooklyn, and Jen, a fellow Galaxie 500 listmember, also very nice.

So, I see bassist Brenda Sauter having dinner. Singer/Guitarist Glenn Mercer walks past me. Chris introduces me to drummer Stanley Demeski. Holy crap. I am here. The Feelies are here. We are both here.

I think Chris was a little bemused by my starstruckedness. He plays in a band with Brenda, and he works with Stanley. The Feelies are people he knows, and has known for years. Hey, I’m a dork. What can I say?

So it’s getting close to 9:00pm and we have just gotten our food. I eat my delicious crabcake sandwich as quickly as humanly possible, and excuse myself from the table. I am not going to miss a single damn song.

The music venue part of Maxwell’s is a small, cozy rectangular room. I really couldn’t have asked for a better place to see a show. It was crowded so I didn’t really have room to dance, but I did a lot of whiteguy head-bobbing, so that’s something.

The Feelies played two sets, and pretty much played every song I could ever have wanted them to play. I had wanted to nab a setlist but I didn’t have any luck. So, I can give you the songs that I remember them playing (I’m probably going to miss a couple), though not in the order they played them in.

From Crazy Rhythms:
Fa Cé-La
Original Love
Raised Eyebrows
Crazy Rhythms

I do remember that Crazy Rhythms followed Raised Eyebrows, and that Crazy Rhythms was the last song in their first set. The two songs fit together so well on the album, and the song transition is so “magical” for lack of a better word, I was a little giddy when they did the same song transition live.

From The Good Earth (perhaps the best album ever made — yes that’s right, that’s what I said):
On the Roof
The High Road
Slipping (Into Something)
Let’s Go

From Only Life:
It’s Only Life
Deep Fascination
The Final Word
Away
What Goes On

From Time For A Witness:
Sooner or Later
Doin’ It Again

Non-album songs:
We’re Gonna Have A Real Good Time Together (VU cover)
Outdoor Miner (Wire cover)
Barstool Blues (Neil Young cover)
Dancing Barefoot (Patti Smith cover)
Fun To Be Happy (Love Tractor cover)
She Said She Said (Beatles cover)
TWO NEW ORIGINAL SONGS! — One of the songs they did was kinda punky. Had the word “Time” in it. I’m sorry, but that’s the best I can do for you folks. Chris said he thought they had four new original songs cooked up, and they played two of them during the show. I must have not recognized the other one as being unrecognizable.

When they took a break from their first set, despite the fact that my legs were tired, despite the fact that I had to pee, despite that my inner thighs were raw from walk-chafe, I moved closer to the stage. And there I stood until the second set began. Bowman came up and hung out with me for the second set. The second set was even better than the first. They played a lot of the songs hellaciously fast. It was really quite wonderful.

So, after a few encores (yayyy!) the show finally ended. We hung around after the show. Yes, I talked to every single damned Feelie after the show.

Here is a list of Feelies I spoke with and the degree to which I embarrassed myself by my fanboi babbling.

Stanley Demeski – No embarrassment
Bill Million – Mild embarrassment
Dave Weckerman – Mild embarrassment
Glenn Mercer – Moderate embarrassment
Brenda Sauter – Extreme embarrassment

Brenda, if you happen to read this, sorry! Y’know, I was geeking out talking to everyone. I don’t really feel that bad at all about it, though one never wishes to look like a doofus. What the hell. I think my appreciation of the band came through, at least.

As I carefully pointed out to each Feelie, I had gone to great lengths to see them play live. This was the script I started with — “Hello [Feelies member]! It is so nice to meet you! I came all the way from Chicago for this show!” But wouldn’t you know, some guy flew in from Belgium and another guy flew in from Japan for the Maxwell’s shows. So, of course my trip from Chicago looks completely puny in comparison. Damn you Belgium and Japan! Damn you!

When I crept up to Brenda to speak with her, she was having a conversation with Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo. I sort of weaseled my way into their conversation (in my defense, Chris told me I should go talk to them, so he should be held fully responsible for whatever damage I have done to my cred with the Hoboken Musical Illuminati). I had seen Yo La Tengo a few times but had never spoken with Mr. Kaplan. He was a very friendly guy. It was kind of weird that I was talking to him and never even mentioned Yo La Tengo or indicated I knew who he was. Hey, it was all about the Feelies that night.

Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips, formerly of Luna and currently of Dean & Britta (I wonder how they came up with that name?) were also milling about after the show, talking to Stanley (Stanley was Luna’s first drummer). I own pretty much everything Luna has ever put out. Dean glanced in my direction and I could have talked to him, but I didn’t make any effort to speak with him. As I said before, it was all about the Feelies that night.

I wish I could have talked to Stanley a bit more. He seemed like a really nice guy. Hey, he even introduced me to his wife and friends, saying “This is SPLOTCHY!” After a little chitchat, I got an unexpected spell of social shyness and excused myself to move on to the next person to embarrass myself in front of. Oh well, perhaps next time.

I was a little nervous speaking with Bill Million, but he was quite friendly, and seemed to really appreciate (perhaps touched by, even) the fact that I made the trek to the show.

I am really encouraged that the Feelies are working on some new material. It’s pretty darned nifty. I spoke with a few members of the band about the possibility of touring, coming to Chicago, etc. They had mentioned getting some offers for coming there in August, but it sounds like they’re just going to see how things organically grow or don’t grow.

Whatever happens, I am so happy to have finally been able to see my favorite band play live. It was wonderful.

UPDATE:

Oh, I forgot to include this in the original post. David Patrick Kelly actually contacted me last week via his assistant regarding my extra ticket. He appreciated the offer, but was unable to make it. I ended up giving my extra ticket to a friend of Chris’.

As DPK said in the email, “The Feelies are great!”

What Does It Mean? What Can You Do About It?

Tomorrow morning I leave for NJ/NY.

I hope to have a fun trip.

I’ll be lunching with Distributorcap in Manhattan. I’m meeting up with another person for dinner in Hoboken.

I’ll be seeing the Feelies tomorrow night at Maxwell’s.

Other than that, I haven’t thought too much about the what the heck I’m going to be doing there during my two-day trip.

If anyone wants to suggest anything, please feel free. I won’t have a car, and am probably going to spend the majority of my little trip in NYC.

If you don’t have any recommendations, you can still visit and vote on my latest WICH post – coincidentally, it features the Feelies!