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- Posted on Sep 14th 2009 12:00PM by Kenneth Partridge
Over the course of two sets and no fewer than five encores, the group said almost nothing to the audience, opting instead to let its songs --a collection of terse, jangling post-punk rave-ups -- do the talking. The marathon show capped a triumphant weekend for the Feelies, who, prior to reuniting last year, hadn't played together since 1991.
Friday evening, the band performed its 1980 debut album, 'Crazy Rhythms,' at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival, a who's-who of classic and current indie bands staged in Monticello, N.Y. If Friday's full-album gig was tantamount to being inducted into the Indie Rock Hall of Fame, Sunday's Southpaw show felt like a curtain call-a chance for the Feelies to dip further into a catalog that, despite running just four albums deep, has influenced everyone from R.E.M. to the Flaming Lips, curators of this year's ATP New York.
Opening their second, livelier set with a barnstorming cover of Neil Young's 'Barstool Blues,' the Feelies proved early on that age hasn't slowed them down. As guitarist Bill Million bashed away on his 12-string acoustic -- the centerpiece of the Feelies sound -- frontman Glenn Mercer cut in with spiky electric leads, wrestling his Telecaster across the stage. Behind Million and Mercer, drummer Stan Demeski and percussionist Dave Weckerman mixed heavy floor-tom beats with tambourine, cowbell and woodblock, creating "crazy rhythms," indeed.
On a boisterous run-through of 'The Final Word,' Million grabbed an electric and joined Mercer in choking high-pitch notes from way down on his guitar's neck. 'Original Love,' a highlight of the second set, found the Feelies in punk-rock mode, tearing through a tune that ended with an extended "Whoa-whoa-whoa" sing-along.
It wasn't until the fourth encore that the Feelies played their "hit," the 1980 single "Fa Ce-La," a twitchy, melodic number that urges listeners to "break the silence with the screaming head."
This, Sunday's show reaffirmed, is something the Feelies remain quite capable of doing on their own.