Tag Archives: The Feelies

A foretaste of New Jersey rock without Maxwell’s: Speed the Plough, East of Venus play Mexicali Live

Speed the Plough performs at Mexicali Live in Teaneck, N.J. on July 18, 2013. (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

Speed the Plough performs at Mexicali Live in Teaneck, N.J. on July 18, 2013. (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

We know what it’s going to be like without Maxwell’s. We learned it pretty clearly at Mexcali Live in Teaneck, N.J., on Thursday, July 18.

Speed the Plough, a very Maxwell’s-identified band, ripped through an excellent headlining set after warmups by Lianne Smith and East of Venus.

Toni (Paruta) Baumgartner and Cindi Merklee of Speed the Plough.  (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

Toni (Paruta) Baumgartner and Cindi Merklee of Speed the Plough. (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

Nobody in the audience crowded the edge of the stage, which is tradition at Maxwell’s. Not there’s anything wrong with that. It just seemed a little alien. But you had the distinct feeling that if you tried to stand in front of the stage, you’d be shouted away by the audience or escorted away by management. So it seemed better to keep a bit of distance.

Only one person in the crowd stood near the front of a rather cavernous room filled with tables, chairs and stools — and he was far, far from his usual front-and-center spot.

Never mind that the sound at Mexicali is crisp and the raised stage provides sight lines that are, to say the least, more audience-friendly than Maxwell’s. Continue reading

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Speed the Plough joins Bar/None’s July 24 farewell to Maxwell’s

Speed the Plough at Maxwell's on Oct. 20, 2012. (Photo © 2012, Steven P. Marsh)

Speed the Plough at Maxwell’s on Oct. 20, 2012. (Photo © 2012, Steven P. Marsh)

STP is part of a promised ‘cavalcade of mystery stars’ joining Headliners Freedy Johnston and Band, James Mastro’s Health & Happiness Show and Chris Stamey with Anton Fier and Gene Holder

Myrna and the Hangar Boys (Human Switchboard’s Myrna Marcarian, Jared Michael Nickerson, Dave Schramm and Ron Metz) join lineup

WFMU to broadcast live from the lounge

Even before Maxwell’s closing was announced, Speed the Plough was gearing up get active again. The band, which can trace its lineage back to The Feelies through The Trypes, became active in 2009 after a long hiatus, but has been picking up steam lately in anticipation of a new album — a compilation of some of its long-out-of-print music from the early days plus six brand-new tracks.

But now they’re preparing to say goodbye to the venerated Hoboken club with one last gig there, on Thursday, July 24, as part of a Bar/None record label lineup.

Continue reading

The Feelies’ final Fourth of July at Maxwell’s

Maxwell's in the dim light on Independence Day 2013. (Photos © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

Maxwell’s in the dim light on Independence Day 2013. (Photos © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

It’s always a tough, emotional thing to get to Maxwell’s in Hoboken, N.J.,  for The Feelies‘ annual Fourth of July show. You’re fighting for access to the Mile Square City with thousands trying to get to the waterfront to watch the Macy’s fireworks show in Manhattan.

But the Fourth of July 2013 was particularly tough, even with showtime pushed back to the throwback hour of 10 p.m. (Remember when rock shows didn’t really get started until nighttime had really settled in?)

It was the very last Independence Day that The Feelies would be playing the venerated Maxwell’s music club.

For fans and newbies alike, the night — the first of the band’s three-day holiday stand — was a touching one.

Glenn Mercer, Bill Million and Brenda Sauter onstage at Maxwell's on July 4.

Glenn Mercer, Bill Million and Brenda Sauter onstage at Maxwell’s on July 4.

For their part, members of the band — Glenn Mercer on guitar, Bill Million on guitar, Brenda Sauter on bass, Stan Demeski on drums and Dave Weckerman on percussion — didn’t get maudlin and sentimental. They just did what they always do, playing a solid, well-planned set of crowd favorites, mixing their own turns — the older, nervous one and the new, slightly more melodic numbers — with a bunch of rock covers that they’ve added to their bag of tricks over the years.

They brought up a longtime friend and associate, John Baumgartner (of The Trypes and Speed the Plough, and also involved in a graphics business with sister Janice Demeski), to join them on “Bluer Skies” early in the evening.

They ended with three encores, featuring a surprise guest in the first set: Glenn Morrow, a longtime partner in Hoboken’s Bar/None Records and a member of Hoboken heyday bands like The Individuals, Rage to Live, and A, the band that later morphed, without Morrow, into The Bongos. Morrow joined The Feelies for The Monkees hit “I’m a Believer” and the Feelies favorite Beatles track, “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey,” to cement the simian theme.

There were no surprises. But that’s not what Feelies fans want at the band’s shows. They want the satisfaction of a rock-solid set of favorites old and new. And that’s what they get.

And that’s a better tribute to the soon-to-be-gone club than a bucket of salty tears and maudlin speeches could ever be.

Click through to the jump for more photos. Continue reading

Hanukkah with Yo La Tengo at Maxwell’s in Hoboken — Sunday and Monday

YLT 2

Yo La Tengo jammed with Fred Armisen on a second drum kit. (Photos © 2012, Steven P. Marsh)

Yo La Tengo continued its massively wonderful holiday tradition, kicking off the first of eight shows — one for each night of Hanukkah — on Saturday night. The proceeds from tickets and most merchandise goes to charity. (This year all the charities support Superstorm Sandy recovery efforts.)_

Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? managed to score tickets to four of the eight nights — not an easy thing to do the way TicketFly is set up.

Our first night was Night 2, when the amazing Sun Ra Arkestra (imagine a DOZEN musicians on the tiny Maxwell’s stage!) was the opener and Fred Armisen of “Saturday Night Live” and “Portlandia” was both the comedian and a musical guest.

Night 3 featured Hoboken’s hometown heroes The Feelies, which opened with a very strong set, and the members of which sat in at various points of YLT’s set. Guitarist and vocalist Glenn Mercer was absolutely on fire all night. And Brenda Sauter did a great job on vocals for “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere.” “SNL” writer John Mulaney was the comic for Night 3.

We’ll be back tonight, but wanted to share some images of nights 2 and 3 with you now.

This is a tradition that has been going on for 11 years, YLT’s Ira Kaplan pointed out last night. We hope it continues for many years to come.

Click through to the jump for lots of photos from Sunday and Monday nights’ shows.

Continue reading

Jersey Fresh: Speed the Plough, Wild Carnation and The Thousand Pities

Photo by Katie Demeski

Speed the Plough (Photo by Katie Demeski)

It’s a great weekend for New Jersey rock and roll. In one fell swoop, three Jersey bands, all with links to The Feelies, are performing on a joint bill in NYC tonight and New Jersey tomorrow.

Shine is due out Aug. 16

Speed the Plough is using the shows to preview the sounds of its wonderful new album, Shine, which as Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? has been telling you, is due out on Aug. 16. STP is a real family affair, fronted as it is by the husband-and-wife team of Toni and John Baumgartner and includes their son, Mike and STP co-founder Marc Francia and his sons Ian and Dan. New member Ed Seifert, another fixture on the New Jersey music scene,  is the only person in the band who, as far as we know, isn’t related to anyone else in STP.

 You can get a sample of the warm, rhythmic and familiar sounds of STP’s new work with the first single, “Something to Say,” which is streaming on the band website and on the Dromedary Records site.

STP is inextricably linked to The Feelies, in part through former member Brenda Sauter, who’s the longtime Feelies bass player and also a member of Wild Carnation, another band on this weekend’s bill.  STP grew out of the ashes of another legendary band, The Trypes, which also included Feelies members.

Wild Carnation bills itself as “the best Feelies spin-off band you never heard of,” is also on the bill, along with Montclair’s The Thousand Pities – which includes Michael Carlucci, who plays with Feelies singer Glenn Mercer.

Shows are 8 p.m. today (Friday, July 29) at at Piano’s, 158 Ludlow Street, in Manhattan’s Lower East Side ($10, tickets available here), and tomorrow (Saturday, July 30) at 8:30 pm tomorrow at Tierney’s, 138 Valley Road, Montclair, N.J. (No price announced.)

The Feelies feeling independent

The Feelies at Maxwell's on Night 1 of the 2011 Independence Weekend. (Photos © 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

The Feelies kicked off Independence Weekend, as they’ve been doing for ages, at Maxwell’s in Hoboken last night (Friday, July 1)

It was a homecoming as always at Maxwell’s since that was the band’s home club for its entire existence.

Last night was the first of a three-night stand. The hometown crowd was not disappointed, with The Feelies starting just a bit after 9 p.m., the posted showtime, and playing until almost 12:30, with just one short intermission.

Click through to the jump for more photos and info about the first night show. Also, check out a great Paste Magazine slideshow of a day in the life of The Feelies from their recent Philadelphia show at World Cafe Live.

Continue reading

It’s harvest time for Speed the Plough — and The Trypes, too

Speed the Plough: John Baumgartner, Dan Francia, Ian Francia, Michael Baumgartner, Marc Francia and Toni Baumgartner.

There are some big doings at Speed the Plough HQ. The latest incarnation of the band, a part of network of bands linked to The Feelies, has announced a deal for their new CD.

They’ve signed with Great Meadows, N.J, -based Dromedary Records, which will issue the band’s new disc, Shine, in August.  The lineup for the new album will feature the great guitar and vocal work of new Plough-man Ed Seifert (of Ed Seifert and the Stimulus Package, though you may also recognize Ed as The Feelies’ tech) and guest appearances by two former STPers and current members of Wild Carnation, Brenda Sauter (who’s also in The Feelies) and Rich Barnes.

What’s more, a compilation of tunes from The Trypes, another part of The Feelies’ family, is also nearing completion.

Click through to the jump for the full announcement. And be sure to check out the Speed the Plough website for updates. Continue reading

The Feelies gear up to play

The Feelies at Maxwell's in Hoboken, N.J., in 2009. (Photo copyright 2009, Steven P. Marsh)

Now who could possibly know better what The Feelies are up to than the daughter of one of the band members? (Well, maybe her dad, but don’t tell her that!)

With that in mind, I reached out to the delightful Katie Demeski, daughter of the great New Jersey band’s drummer Stanley Demeski and his wife Janice. One of Katie’s blogs, How Strange, Innocence, is a leading source of reliable information about what the band is up to. It’s not the quantity so much as the quality of her information that makes the blog worth checking.

But a day or two ahead of the release of Here Before, the band’s first new album in 19 years, I checked in and realized she hadn’t blogged about The Feelies since last Sept. 8, when she reported the band was going into the studio. Granted, she’s in college and holding down a job, so it’s not like she has a ton of free time.

Luckily, when I messaged her, she was just about to do a quick update. It’s live on her blog now, with pretty much everything you need to know about their upcoming shows, plus some info about Speed the Plough, a band that’s part of The Feelies’ extended family. .

Suffice it to say The Feelies aren’t in any huge hurry to hit the road simultaneously with the release of their album. In fact, the band’s first public show (not counting a students-only gig this month at SUNY Purchase) comes at The Bell House in Gowanus, Brooklyn, on May 13, a full month after the album’s release! That show, not surprisingly, appears to be sold out.

Please go to Katie’s blog for more details, including some tantalizing information about an outdoor gig in Brooklyn. I don’t want to spoil it for you.

New Speed the Plough — live on the Fourth of July

True fans of The Feelies will remember Speed the Plough fondly, given that many Feelies played in Toni and John Baumgartner‘s band during its existence in the early 1990s. Like The Feelies, STP is back making music. Earlier this year, the band released its first album in 15 years, Swerve.

On the Fourth of July, before heading to Maxwell’s in Hoboken for the third and final Feelies show of the holiday weekend, the members of STP visited the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in the Morningside Heights section of Manhattan. There, tucked away on the plaza surrounding sculptor Greg Wyatt’s Peace Fountain (1985), the band gathered around the public piano that was one of 60 installed around NYC as part of the Play Me, I’m Yours art project. The Fourth of July was the last day of the installation, and the members of STP thought it would be fun to take advantage of it as a group. (STP wasn’t the only band to think of this. The Bill Murray Experience did something quite similar, as Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? reported previously.)

They did an acoustic rendering of “Kentucky Moon” that was captured on video by Katie Demeski. Enjoy!

Catching up with The Feelies

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The Feelies

Since you landed on this post, you’ve probably already checked out the Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? post about The Feelies‘ Fourth of July weekend shows at Maxwell’s.

But if you’ve fallen behind on your Feelies news, here’s a collection of great items on the web about the shows, the band and the NEW ALBUM, for which the band has been writing new songs for a couple of years. Production is supposed to start any day. Read on for more.

Jim Testa‘s known The Feelies since Day One, so his voice in Jersey Beat is authoritative. Click here for his review and his insights about the new album.

Katie Demeski, daughter of Feelies drummer Stanely Demeski, blogs about a number of things, but mostly ruminates on her dad’s band. She posted some videos of her dad practicing here, gives her impressions of The Feelies demos here, talks about the in-the-works Feelies album here and weighs in on Feelies offshoot band Speed the Plough‘s new album here.

And The NJ Underground, a site aimed at younger music fans, did a good piece on The Feelies. Perhaps this accounted for the rather high percentage of young people in the audience at Maxwell’s last weekend.