Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Good Feeling at The Met

Glenn Mercer led The Feelies through an exuberant set at The Met.

The Feelies made what has become their annual visit to New England this past weekend – I've caught the band’s springtime visits for the past four years. This time around was supposed to be a two-night stay, starting with a gig in Cambridge on Friday. Of course, that was canceled due to the Greater Boston area being in lockdown as the manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombers played out only a few miles away.

Fortunately, for those of us who had planned to see the Cambridge show, we had another chance the next night when the band made its first Rhode Island appearance in more than two decades. They quintet graced the stage at The Met in Pawtucket, R.I., a great venue that has recently upped its game booking wise. It really has all that The Paradise in Boston has to offer (except the legendary history) but with easier parking, better sightlines, cleaner restrooms and friendlier staff.

Though the Jerseyites made no direct reference to the traumatic and surreal events the area had endured over the past week – they’re not really much for stage banter — they were spurred on by the enthusiasm of the crowd and delivered a much needed celebration and return to normalcy.

Context aside, it was a typically wonderful Feelies show, featuring two sets and a lengthy series of encores. They played most of the old favorites (“Slipping Into Something,” “Higher Ground,” “Away” “Deep Fascination,” “Crazy Rhythms” et al) and more recent standouts (“On and On,” “Nobody Knows” and “Time Is Right”).  A special surprise was the rarely played “Decide” from 1991’s Time for a Witness album.

As usual, The Feelies offered up their own unique take on more than a half-dozen covers by the likes of The Velvet Underground, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, The Stones, The Stooges, The Doors, Television and R.E.M.  They slipped The Velvets (“There She Goes”) and Dylan (“Seven Days”) into their main sets – ending the first set with a particularly vicious rendition of the Dylan tune – then packed the four or five encores with the rest. 

Most notable of these were two covers that I had never heard the band do before. The first was The Stones’ “Get Off of My Cloud,“ seemingly a bit out of character for them, but so was “Seven Days” only a few years ago and now it‘s nestled comfortably in their repertoire. The other was R.E.M.’s “Shaking Through.” The Feelies’ R.E.M. connection goes way back – Peter Buck production and opening shows for the Athens quartet back in the mid ’80s. I’d heard them cover “Carnival of Sorts (Box Cars)” several times, but never this Murmur track.  

Despite the interesting covers, though, it’s The Feelies’ sometimes manic, sometimes melancholy, but always melodic pop that keeps me coming back each time. I hope they reschedule the Cambridge show before another year passes.

The Feelies at The Met, Pawtucket, R.I.  4/20/13
First Set:
•  It’s Only Life
•  Who Loves the Sun
•  For Now
•  instrumental
•  Change Your Mind
•  There She GOes
•  Invitation
•  Nobody Knows
•  Should Be Gone
•  Let’s Go
•  Again Today
•  The High Road
•  On the Roof
•  Seven Days

Second Set:
•  Deep Fascination
•  On and On 
•  Decide
•  Higher Ground
•  For Awhile
•  The Final Word
•  Way Down
•  Away
•  Slipping Into Something
•  Doin’ It Again
•  Time Is Right
•  Too Far Gone
•  Raised Eyebrows
•  Crazy Rhythms

•  Get Off of My Cloud
•  Waiting
•  Shaking Through
•  See No Evil
•  Sooner or Later
•  I Wanna Be Your Dog
•  Everybody’s Got Something to Hide (Except Me and My Monkey)
•  Paint It Black
•  Take It As It Comes
•  Fa Cé-La

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