The Feeling — is there a worse name for a rock band? Just terrible. It’s like they’re just asking to be ridiculed. Their debut album, Twelve Stops and Home, sounds like some weird mix of 10-CC style studio wankery and circa-1978 stadium rock, complete with four-part harmonies and overblown production. It looked as if The Feeling’s NYC debut at the Mercury Lounge was going to be the nail in the coffin for me. The five members walked onstage to a Beach Boys-esque a cappella version of their single "Fill My Little World," and then proceeded to to play a generic, blues-rock intro as singer Dan Gilespie Sells came out and introduced the band, one by one. It reminded me of all the bands I saw as a youngster in the late-70s who’d come to the West Virginia State Fair (The Osmonds, Oak Ridge Boys, Neil Diamond) and really put on a show.
But then they started playing and it became quickly — instantly — apparent that The Feeling could actually play. The solos, the harmonies, it was all there on stage. And dammit, they actually rocked. Hard. There was much windmilling. Guitar heroics. Occasional rock theatrics. And some of the finest slacks this side of the 1977 JC Penny Fall Catalog.
Live, they are more comparable to Cheap Trick or The Knack or the softer side of The Darkness. But no irony. No big egos. They seemed like nice boys. Talented kids.
It was a short, eight-song set, including "cheeky" new song "Never Be Lonely." Best moments were "Fill My Little World," "Helicopter" and, saving the best for last, "Love it When You Call." (They also played the Athlete-esque "Sewn," the first single in the US.) A mostly-industry showcase, the crowd seemed appreciative, but I was up front so who’s to say. The room was only half full — are The Feeling the only non-hyped British band out there? They deserve better. But I also wish the album had more of that live oomph and less ELO sheen.
Little Elpees was also at the show and offers some MP3s too.