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)

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!”

Oh My Yes It’s Happening

When your favorite band last released some music in the early 90’s, it’s fair to say there’s not going to be lots of fresh news of the band pumping through the Internet capillaries on a daily basis.

The Feelies are my favorite band. The Feelies album The Good Earth has been my favorite album for almost twenty freaking years. If you’re curious, one of my Green Monkey Mixes, Speed It Up has two excellent cuts from The Feelies (one from The Good Earth, one from Crazy Rhythms).

I know it’s possible to set up Google Alerts, what have you, to keep yourself up-to-date with breaking news regarding a topic, but I have never felt the need to do such a thing. For whatever reason, today I decided to do a blog search on “Feelies”.

Holy crap. This photo was taken last month. The Feelies are back together. That’s the elusive Bill Million second from the right.

In my search I discovered that The Feelies are playing at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, NJ on July 1st and 2nd (they’re also playing with Sonic Youth in Battery Park on the 4th).

I had promised myself that if the Feelies ever had a full-fledged reunion, I would travel from Chicago to see them. And that’s what I am going to do.

I bought two tickets online today. They went on sale on April 23rd. I checked later in the day and both shows were sold out.

Can you believe my luck? I happen to search for the Feelies, discover a full-fledged reunion, and buy tickets for that reunion before they sell out. Holy crap.

I’ll probably be flying into NYC or Newark on the 1st, and fly out on the 2nd. Hot damn tamale am I excited.

Feelies, take me away!

An Unexpected Live Show

I am happy to report I’ll be attending a concert on Thursday night, something I don’t do too often these days!

A friend of mine just informed me today he had an extra ticket to see Tegan & Sara at the Portage Theater in Chicago.

The first I heard of this group was via a contribution by the lovely Barbara to the Speed It Up Green Monkey Mix. Thank you, Barbara! If you want me to yell a song request for you, or say something positive or negative about the Calgary Flames, I will gladly convey your message.

Is anyone else attending this show? Look for me — I’ll be dressed as Satan’s underpants.

Here’s a video of Barbara’s song contribution – Speak Slow

A Happy Father’s Day

I hope every father had a good Father’s Day yesterday (and to everyone else not into the Father’s Day thing, I hope you had a good Sunday).

Yesterday was better than I could have imagined.

My family picked me up in the early afternoon — I hadn’t seen the kids since Saturday morning, because I was working on a friend of mine’s short film during most of the weekend.

We went over to my father-in-law’s place and had a cookout, followed by a lovely dessert – a tasty turtle ice cream pie from Oberweiss.

There was an Atari 2600 “flashback” game hooked up down in their basement — basically a replica of the old-school Atari 2600, but with games preloaded on the system rather than cartridges you plug in. So, I got to show my twins some choice games from my youth. I played Dodge ‘Em, Combat and Outlaw with them, then let the kids play each other.

It’s embarrassing, but it was along the lines of a dad-showing-his-kid-how-to-fish moment. Really neat.

Then, back home for some unexpected presents. The kids all made me cards — my daughter drew a snowman on her card! Tres cool!

I got a smoking Casio digital watch (I’m sick of looking at my cell phone for the time), and some kicking iPod speakers.

My eldest son had a little freakout when he spilled some water on his bed as he was getting ready to go to sleep. He was tired and/or unexpectedly emotionally attached to his sport sheets. After we got his bed changed to some cartoon monkey sheets, I was able to calm him down after describing sheets I had as a child, and convinced him how cool monkey sheets really are.

After we put the kids to bed, collapsed on the couch and watched a DVR’ed Mythbusters show, we called it a night.

I dunno, just a nice day. They happen from time to time.

Go Wrigley Field!


I haven’t really paid close attention to baseball since I collected cards back in the late 70’s.

Is Lou Brock still playing for the Cardinals?

Anyway, I occasionally make it out to Wrigley Field for a Cubs game, and last night was one of those nights.

I think if I followed the Cubs a bit more (which I guess would work out to a bit more than zero) I would somehow lose this kind of dazed, happy feeling I have when I’m sitting there watching a game and having a beer.

Nothing really interesting to observe, I’m just sayin’.