Power pop band The Feeling are a band of genuine musicians, not a record-company manufactured ensemble of talentless pretty boys in it for a quick buck.
Their success is entirely due to their brilliant, unashamed pop songs which are varied, riffy and melodic. Their musical influences, which hang out all over the place, are mostly 1970s radio fodder, in fact many of my faves when I was poptastic teenager, such as Queen, 10cc and ELO.
Last night we went to Hammersmith Apollo to see them. And they were absolutely bloody wonderful! They put on a great show fronted by Dan Gillespie Sells, with great lighting, atmospheric effects and film clips.
My kids were mightily amused that I so keenly wanted to see a modern band, as opposed to what you might call a heritage band, my usual gig fodder. The audiences of the kind of gig I usually go to are made up of predominantly men aged 40 and more, with bald heads, beards and leather. So it was a rather pleasant shock to be part of a much younger crowd made up of perhaps 65% women. It felt great apart from the annoying screaming and whooping during quieter sections of songs and inappropriate calls of ‘We love you, Dan’ to the openly gay lead singer. But who can blame their girlish enthusiasm when the music is this good?
Their songs are so catchy that when I first heard their music, I was convinced I’d heard it before. ‘Never be lonely’ is so dripping with riffs it’s a little piece of feel-good, sing-a-long genius with plenty of satisfying guitar! Since the release of their first album they have achieved huge commercial success and last night they played hit after hit, which the crowd clapped and sang along to – every single word.
I do wish they’d let their guitarist Kevin Jeremiah and his pianist brother Ciaran Jeremiah off the leash a bit more: I’m sure Kevin has some sweet hard rock riffs pent up inside which I’d really like to hear more of. And Ciaran’s jangling electric piano underpins so much of what the band does, it’s too easy to overlook what a talent he brings to the party.
While I’m bigging everyone up, I must mention, bassist Richard Jones and drummer Paul Stewart, who drive the whole powerhouse along.
The show finished with two encores, the final one featuring legendary music producer Trevor Horn, who wrote and performed Buggles’ massive hit ‘Video killed the radio star’ which he performed last night with The Feeling.
Through my binoculars I could see Gillespie Sells’ face light up with joy at singing this song which he considers to be one of the finest pop songs ever written.
I’m not sure how ‘hip’ or ‘cool’ it is to like this band (such things I neither know nor care about) but like them very much I do; for their hummable choruses, catchy riffs, simple melodies, beautiful harmonies, and progtastic unexpected left-turns (I so wish they’d do more of this).
Their sound is uplifting and defiant and I’m unashamedly a fan.
Photos: Moth Clark