I know I’ve been writing about some older records lately, but you’ll have to trust me when I tell you that I’m all over the road. I grew up in New Jersey, but that has nothing to do with my affinity for this band. I was doing my weekly scan of The Boston Phoenix Thursday looking for great shows in small venues when I came across a listing for a recently reunited 80′s band called The Feelies at The Roxy that caught my eye. I did a double take because I didn’t even know they had reformed. I checked the ticket stub in the back of one of their last CDs and found out I hadn’t seen these guys since May of 1991 at Berklee Performance Center here in Boston. 17 years ago. Man that’s a lot of time.
I ran into a woman I used to see at all the great shows back in the day. She’s married to a photographer of local fame now. It reminded me of the crowd I used to run with. As you get older time checks like these seem to seep into your consciousness without notice and this was one of those moments. I just can’t help myself when a show like this presents itself. It’s come to the point that I can’t seem to find a single person my age to tag along to great shows like this one for the sheer beauty of live music so I attended alone. It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last. I can honestly say that this show might have been the tiniest turnout of a name band I have ever seen. My guess is 300 people tops. The Roxy probably holds 1500 give or take a Fire Marshall. It was kind of sad actually. I had plenty of bar space (too much it seems judging by my inactive Sunday). I’d seen Buddy Guy, Robert Cray and Calexico there in the past and could barely get a drink. Not this time. It was just the type of concert I enjoy attending these days. Plenty of air and elbow room. I think I celebrated my find a little too lustily though. The Feelies put on a great show and sounded terrific. For $26 I scored big. I’m so glad I caught that listing in time.
The Feelies are descendents of The Velvet Underground. They even cover What Goes On at the end of the record. Nobody sounds like Lou Reed or anything, but they play a very easy on the ears style. I’ve long been a fan of theirs. They say that R.E.M. was influenced by their first release Crazy Rhythms. You can tell. They have four proper releases on the market to my knowledge and Only Life is their third. They are all good. They flew completely under the record buying radar though they consistently earned well deserved critical acclaim. You know a band is pretty good when nobody can really agree on which record is their best. Another end to end classic that was released in 1988, Only Life is a solid record. If they ever had any radio airplay, this was the CD that carried the flag for them. I just love sorting my database by year to see what bands were up against for competition at the time of their release in question. Only Life was up against some awesome music at the time. R.E.M. – Green. The Church – Starfish. The Godfathers – Birth, School, Work, Death. Jane’s Addiction – Nothing’s Shocking. Robyn Hitchcock – Globe of Frogs. Midnight Oil – Diesel and Dust. Morrissey – Viva Hate. Peter Murphy – Love Hysteria. Lou Reed – New York. Patti Smith – Dream of Life. Shriekback – Go Bang! Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation. The Waterboys – Fisherman’s Blues. The Smithereens – Green Thoughts. Siouxsie & The Banshees – Peep Show. Iggy Pop – Instinct. The Proclaimers – Sunshine On Leith. Edie Brickell – Shooting Rubberbands at The Stars. U2 – Rattle and Hum. Public Enemy. NWA. Whoa. How does anyone make it this business! I don’t want to go toe to toe with each of these records, but I can tell you that this record is very good and holds its own even in this company. Just because I couldn’t find one single Feelies fan to attend the show with doesn’t mean this CD doesn’t stand the test of time. I’m leaving you with the single Higher Ground. Hope you like it and pick this one up.
Buy or download Only Life from Amazon here.