Sunday, March 30, 2008

If We Are Together Again, Surely This'll Never End

At long last - and by long I mean 12 years, I finally got to see my favourite band live. The venue was the Birmingham Academy, the same venue as The Feeling just two weeks ago. Back then I posted that The Feeling are challenging Dodgy to title of 'Smeg's Favourite Band' but seeing Dodgy live utterly confirmed that The Feeling are no where near.

Dodgy lacked the amazing light show, they lacked the leaping across the stage. In fact they just stood their with roughly 5 different coloured lights but they dominated the stage and held your attention in a far more powerful way. They simply let their talents shine through and Dodgy have buckets of it.

For the last few weeks its odd but I've discovered that Dodgy are the biggest band no one as ever heard of. Weird to think that back in the Summer of '96 they were huge. Still, sing a few bars of Good Enough to those who'd 'never heard of them' and a glimmer of recognition would spring to life in their eyes. It was reassuring to find that on Tuesday I was in the comapany of 300 others who had not only heard of The Dodge but, like me, loved 'em too.

Oddly though it wasn't the anthems, Good Enough & Staying Out For The Summer that got me going on Tues, it was the album tracks, UKRIP, Grassman, Longlife (a stunning rendition of that!), Melodies Haunt You, oh I could go on but I was so, so happy.

I contemplated this, I've seen a lot of bands live, Kylie, Scissor Sisters, George Michael, Feeling, Kaiser Chiefs, Basement Jaxx, Robbie, Bowie, Coors, Bush, Eurythmics, Stereophonics, Catatonia etc but Tuesday was something special, it was more personal. Obviously it was an intimate gig but Dodgy are the one band I've grown up listening to and listening to.

It was worth the wait. So Nigel, Andy, Matt & Richard thanks - not only for a stunning gig but for the gift of your music for all these years.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

That Friday Feeling

18 months ago I swore I’d see them again, tonight I fulfilled that promise. The venue was The Birmingham Carling Academy and the band was The Feeling.

They are my favourite band of the moment. Dodgy will always be THE favourite but secretly, the Feeling are nudging them slightly off the top the list. (Though finally, after 12 years having the chance to see Dodgy live in a few weeks my restore the love!)

Join With Us, the second Feeling album, hit the shops last week and secretly first play was a bit odd. It all seemed so downbeat after the every-track-an-anthem-love-it-on-first-play catchiness of the first album. I thought this trend would continue when I first heard the outstanding ‘I Thought It Was Over’ but no initially ‘Join With Us’ is a different beast, and do you know what that’s probably why I like it more. It takes a number of listens to get into but the amazing lyrics soon win you over. In an era when guitar music is starting to become a bit ‘paint by numbers’ The Feeling are refreshingly different in that you can’t quite pin them down. I remember trying to describe them to my dad – they’re sort of rock, but then pop at times a bit ‘Queenish’ sometimes ‘ELO’ arrgh, I dunno?!

Anyway, talking of dads one nice surprise to my second dose of The Feeling live was a very pleasant couple stood next to me. Initially they were chatting to Miss Smeg. “Ooh, is that a Feeling T-Shirt your wearing, bet you haven’t got this one” said the cheery guy stood next to us.. the T-Shirt said in bold lettering “Kev & Ciaran Are My Kids!” Yes we were stood next to 2/5 of The Feeling’s parents. Mr Jeremiah happily told us tales of Rose being written in his shed and the guys sleeping on the floor of his living room. You could tell he was immensely proud of the Feeling and so he should be, as the night would prove. The Feeling have become a formidable stage presence. They were confident back in 2006 but now they commanded attention like never before. This was evident from the outset as the traditional Feeling intro used on their last tour was literally ousted in favour of a bolder, brighter and louder start to the show. An attitude that carried on for the whole 60 odd minutes only slowing for the return of Dan’s sparkly piano and a stunning rendition of ‘Strange’.

There are a few surprises throughout the night, I don’t wish to spoil them however I will say if you loved ‘Video Killed The Radio Star’ you’re in for a treat. In fact for much of the gig you won’t be able to do much other than wave and clap your hands in the air – a fact that was evident by the time of the finale – an overly energetic version of ‘Love It When You Call’ that just has you begging for more.

There are a few people that are keen to knock the Feeling, however I don’t think it’s by accident that the new album and tour are entitled ‘Join With Us’. After the 60+ minute show you’d be mad to say ‘no’.