As nearly every article published last week surrounding The Feelies reunion, the band were somewhat infamous for, in their early days, mainly playing shows on national holidays so it seemed especially fitting to be seeing them on the 4th of July.
Reports from their warm-up shows at Maxwell’s early in the week had been fairly glowing so I figured the show would be good but I also took it with a grain of salt. Anyone going to one of those Maxwell’s shows was a superfan and that (and nostalgia) might be clouding their judgment a little. And maybe just a little nostalgia affected me as well, but after the show I can safely say still got it.
It took a few songs to get warmed up and didn’t really find their groove till four songs in — The Good Earth nugget “Let’s Go” — but once they did there was no nostalgia needed, the songs and musicianship took over. In particular, Glenn Mercer is still a shit-hot guitarist and the solos on “Away” and “Slipping Into Something” in particular really smoked. The whole band sounded great. And unlike some bands who take a more gentle approach to material from when they were a lot younger, the tempos on “Away,” “Crazy Rhythms” and “Fa Ce La” remained at their proper breakneck pace.
The Maxwell’s shows had all been nearly two hour affairs so the truncated Battery Park set was just that, though we did get an encore. I coulda done with a couple more from 1991’s Time for a Witness (we only got “Doin’ it Again”) but no real complaints. They also played two new numbers, one of which (Time is Right) was really good, and an ace rendition of Wire’s oft-covered “Outdoor Miner.” Maybe they’ll be back for Labor Day. One can hope.
SETLIST: on the roof | high road | | nobody knows (new song) | let’s go | higher ground | away | time is right (new song) | slipping into something | doin’ it again | raised eyebrows | crazy rhythms | ENCORE: outdoor miner | fa ci la
NYC Taper, god bless him, has recordings of the entire Battery Park show and the second set from their July 1 Maxwell’s show (which is a board recording… or a mix of board and mid-audience, not sure I fully understand what a “Matrix” recording is but it sounds great.)
And I shot video of “Slipping Into Something” which is a little shaky as I was using a bit of my camera’s digital zoom, which is very hard to hold steady:
Actually, there’s a lot of YouTube footage of the Battery park show out there… enjoy!