We first saw power popsters The Feeling a little over two years ago and then again last summer at the Cornbury festival. They’re quite a big name band, so we were surprised when a couple of months ago they announced a short tour of small venues at very reasonable prices. We got tickets to see them last night at Northampton’s Roadmender, a no-nonsense venue which we quite like; crucially it has really good acoustics and is quite intimate.
The band has been preparing a new album for some time now and the purpose of the tour, front man Dan Gillespie Sells (pictured below) told the audience, was to test their new songs live before they recorded them. I quite like that idea; craft them well, test them out, make improvements, then lay down some tracks.
Their set list interspersed new tracks with crowd-pleasing, sing-a-long hits from their first two albums. The first new song they played was Set my world on fire which will be released as a single next month. Be warned, it’s very catchy and I suspect that the world and his wife will be whistling this tune for weeks to come after it’s released.
We also heard new songs Search every corner, Say no, Another soldier and an electro pop disco-inspired song whose title I’m afraid I forgot in which their 1980s-influence clearly flopped out.
My favourite Sewn was in there, as was Never be lonely, and they finished the set with Love It When You Call. We were disappointed that the main set lasted only 55 minutes – I felt I should have heard about another six songs. But we did get two encores: the appropriately-entitled I Thought It Was Over and new song Undeniable, which on first hearing was a bit too much of a ballad for my uptempo tastes. But I will be happy to eat my words in months to come because this is very probably a grower.
I do wish they’d let their guitarist Kevin Jeremiah and his pianist brother Ciaran Jeremiah (pictured above) 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 (pictured below, with Dan), who drive the whole powerhouse along.
I spent some time considering the audience demographic: all white as far as I could see, but an interesting balance of men and women, young and a bit older (like us). I suppose that means they have a broad appeal. You could argue that Mariah Carey and Susan Boyle and Michael Buble have broad appeal, but the difference between those three miserable, pitiful examples of popular music and The Feeling is that The Feeling are original, heartfelt, genuine, creative, powerful and thoughtful.
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