Ep.480 – The Features @ Mercy Lounge – Nashville, TN 8-27-11
Aug 31st, 2011
Category: Mercy Lounge, Nashville, The Features, Video Concert Reviews
The Features – Video Concert Reviews
The Features Record Release Party @ Mercy Lounge – Nashville
The Features have been proclaimed “the world’s most underrated band” by one of my co-workers, and after last night’s record release party at Mercy Lounge, I can’t say I disagree with that statement.
The Features have been at this thing for over 15 years. While keeping the supporters who have been there since the beginning, they continue to pick up new fans with each sweep. That’s a prodigious feat when you think about how finicky folks can be as the “indie” sound trickles into mainstream.
Are we on the brink of another era where people are somewhat satisfied with artists on the airwaves? Maybe waiting it out on the sidelines, staying active, and paying attention to the hot shots as they soar or get sacked was the way to go. Will The Features be Nashville’s next claim to fame? We hope so.
For the most part, The Features seemed to gain popularity through “word-of-mouth.” Although, the release of “Exhibit A” on Universal and joining Kings of Leon on tour probably amplified that buzz. From a glance at the Mediabase reports, it looks like that promotion resulted in some decent airplay on Triple A, Alternative, Active Rock, Hot AC, and even Top 40 stations across the country, with the song “Blow It Out” being the forerunner in the Features’ catalogue.
For the release of “Wilderness,” the band’s third LP, The Features were a musical guest on Jimmy Kimmel last month and are hitting the road throughout September. Saturday night was a very special celebratory show in Nashville with free beer from 8pm-9pm, and this wasn’t just any beer. (Thanks for filling us in Steve Cross!) Calfkiller Brewery offered up a one-time exclusive called “Feature Creature” that was brewed with the band specifically for the release of “Wilderness.”
We made it to Mercy Lounge in time to see the last few tunes by The Seth Timbs Thing, a “Ben Foldsy” unit spreading some piano-powered cheer. It was a sold-out show, so the venue did some rearranging to make it a little roomier. They removed all the tables and set up an extra bar closer to the stage, so people wouldn’t have to forfeit their standing room space for a drink. Nice touch. The shot of the night was the “Rambo Bomb,” named after the first single off the “Wilderness” album. (Although, I like to think both the shot and song were named after my cat, Rambo.)
Next on the bill was Nashville’s popular garage punkster, PUJOL, blasting through his set of super short songs written about his friends and hardships of the youth. I’ve seen this dude like five times now, and he’s growing on me. Blink and you’ll miss half of his show, but I applaud the fact that he doesn’t hog the stage and understands that most of the time less is more. This performance, my favorite song was “Bonedaddy.”
As The Features got organized (their setlist written on the backs of paper plates) and ran through a quick soundcheck, the floor started to fill up. Before long, there wasn’t a body on the smoking patio or in the back room; all eyes were on the stage as The Features entered to the haunting intro of “Rambo.”
I’m new to this band, only really diving in over the past month or so, but you don’t have to listen to a Features album on repeat to get them ingrained in your head. I found my favorites popping out from my unconscious upon the first few notes, and the hooligan-like sing-song chants present in many of their songs are irresistible.
What makes The Features stand out for me is their ability to play with all variations of the indie movement, rather than sticking to just rock, dance, tropical, or soul. Taking the time to write and mold an album, selecting the songs that have the most impact on the ear and a sequence that keeps its attention results in a non-linear, yet balanced masterpiece that is hard to come by.
Glancing at YouTube, some of the songs on “Wilderness” are two years old. Obviously, this album wasn’t thrown together, and for The Features, the dedication shine through in the product, the live show, and the fan.
The Features ended the night by inviting former member Don Sergio onto the stage for the final song, crediting Sergio for actually naming the band. There’s a little fun fact, for ya!