Saturday, March 25, 2023

The Feelies @ Artsquest, Bethlehem PA March 24, 2023

 The Feelies Live Show at Artsquest Transformed Reality

I am more connected to the underground venues. I know where the hall shows, the 100 and under capacity and DIY shows occur. 

My long time friend Chris Newmyer sent me a message stating he was going to be in town working with The Feelies. I'm like what? The Feelies are playing in three days and I didn't know. I am a bit disconnected with the happenings at Artsquest to say the least. That has to stop. I will be at the Start Making Sense show to see their wonderful Talking Heads tribute at the Artsquest. Plus, Artsquest, located in Bethlehem PA is less than a half hour away from my house.

If you don't know Chris, he used to set up DIY shows at the Stage Door at Lehigh University in the 90s. Best Kissers in the World, Grieving Eucalyptus, Daisy Chainsaw were among the bands I got to see live thanks to Chris. 

I was asked by concert attendee Joe Hanna, owner of long standing, now defunct record store in Bethlehem,  Play It Again, "you like the Feelies?". I understand, my rep is more punk/HC/metal, but I do love other music (and Joe was just busting on me) and am always up to seeing different music, especially when I end up on the guest list. To finally see The Feelies at this stage of my life (mid-50s) was a perfect storm.

The Feelies, from North Jersey, played two sets. The first set was more laid back, groove oriented, country alternative, indie rock, Lou Reed. Hell, R.E.M. sites them as a major influence, you get the picture. 

The sound The Feelies generated, loudly and crisply filled the Artsquest with an aural delight. 

The second set was bombastic. Leaning towards their sonically aggressive, groove driven rock and roll. I would like to say that the Crack Babies (one of the greatest Lehigh Valley PA bands ever) were definitely influenced by The Feelies and I didn't make that connection until tonight as most of the Crack Babies were at this show and their Funhouse/4 G's crew. See photo below. Yes that is me with a stack of vinyl. We'll get to that later. 

Compact Disc Center (Bethlehem PA) proprietor Mary expounded to me just how amazing The Feelies set was, of which I shared in her joy! But then explained, "yeah yeah yeah, I know they are great, but I need to go get some vinyl" (or something like that), which the band was selling for the right price of $20 a pop! 

I bought every The Feelies album on vinyl (one of those bands I only owned digitally), plus Glenn Mercer's instrumental album Incidental Hum.

The guitars and bass of The Feelies form a sonic wall whether playing a country tinged heart string pulling song or a pedal to the metal rocker. 

Stan the man on drums is a machine. I now consider myself influenced by Stan as I will take what I learned by watching him into my playing. Phenomenal. 

They wrapped the third encore up after the second set with one of the best covers of "I Wanna Be Your Dog" I have ever heard. I so wanted to start a pit but decided against and just closed my eyes and rocked out, lost in one of the greatest songs of all time at a very loud volume, just the way I like it. Set list here:

If you get the chance, go see The Feelies live. Also, the records are all almost out of print again (per the merch man, check out bandcamp below), so get a move on or you will be stuck in that digital void, where I was stranded. 


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