Saturday, December 14, 2013
For the first time since I started this blog, lo these however many years ago, I went to see The Features. Save for Mile 8 and Old Union, there probably isn't a band I've seen more than The Features. I started going to see them when I was about 15. Hell, I even auditioned to be their rhythm guitar player when I was 18. They were one of the bands on the Spongebath label back in the late 90's, one of the coolest music scenes in Tennessee history. My days in the "Spongebath" era are pretty well documented here..
So, tonight. The local independent radio station was celebrating Festivus at Marathon Music Works and The Features were the headliners. I'm not gonna lie. I sat at the bar instead of catching the openers but you better believe I was in there in plenty of time to see the boys.
The band released their self titled fourth record back in May. Their set consisted of new songs, sprinkled with crowd pleasers as well as some old ones. The new songs like "This Disorder" and "Rotten" fit right in with the old catalog. They've always had a unique sound, a style that they have made their own. From Pelham's wail to Roger's thrash, it is incredible how they've stayed true to their own original way for all these years. But whether the songs were new or old, it mattered not. They all rocked equally hard. The encore closer "Thursday" was the pinnacle for me. It just took me back. That's kickin' it really old school.
The rhythm section of Rollum and Roger is among the best I have ever seen. I once heard the most credible Features source available describe Rollum as a mix between Keith Moon and Stewart Copeland. He could not be more right. Rollum's energy behind the kit is incredible, and all the while, he makes it look so easy. And fun. Matt Pelham, the guitarist and earnest lead singer, hasn't changed a bit. He's still belting out those infectious hooks and choruses with the same wide eyes.
All I could think of all night, is how these guys are the true embodiment of the band that just goes out there and does their thing. On their own. They haven't achieved industry "success", but they have made a living touring the country and playing their own brand of rock for those who are lucky enough to have heard of them and made it to the show. Around this town, it's easy to take them for granted, but we love them, and we continue to wish them well.