Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Features Played Mercury Lounge - Pictures, Review

Last night we stopped in at the Mercury Lounge and caught an early set from Nashville indie rockers The Features.  The band delivered an evening of music that definitely left a satisfied audience, and kicked and screamed its way through the breadth of their catalog.  Through a mix of frenetic drumming, loping bass lines, and good old fashioned rock and roll, the unrelenting output emphasized the fact that they have the musical chops to truly deliver. 

Unquestionably, The Features are a rock solid unit.  The songs' parts are tightly integrated, and the band clearly have had enough time on the road that comfort on stage isn't even remotely an issue.  This comfort also allows the band to expand their palette as they play, and dabble with the sonic textures that make up their distinctive sound.  The result was a set that managed to do the dual-duty of emulating the records' highly recognizable arrangements, and at the same time expanding on them in the best way possible.

While singer Matt Pelham definitely has the vocal and guitar chops to run a stage show all by his lonesome, the rhythm section was the contingent of the band that really won us over.  Over the course of the set, the bass and drums came together in a way that simply isn't present on the band's records, and it served the overall sound very well. While their records are certainly fueled by driving rhythms, the live environment allowed the band to cut loose, and really emphasized just how rollicking this band has the potential to be.

Interestingly, the crowd was still most closely tied to the tracks from the band's first full length.  While the other material was rock solid, and had crowd support, it was the earlier singles that really made the deepest impact.  It certainly was no fault of the band's, and many of the newer tunes had arrangements that were more inspired than their earlier counterparts.  The gap in audience recognition brought to mind the latest challenge for this Nashville quartet:  They've proven their a rock band to be reckoned with, now they just need their fans to realize that's just one piece of the puzzle.

More pictures at the HAD Archive