Tag Archives: Stan Demeski

The Feelies rock The Bell House; Next up: New England

The Feelies at The Bell House, Gowanus, Brooklyn, on April 25, 2014. (Photos © 2014 Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

The Feelies at The Bell House, Gowanus, Brooklyn, on April 25, 2014. (Photos © 2014 Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

The Feelies may have lost their home base when Maxwell’s went out in style with a Hoboken block party last year. But they haven’t lost their soul, as they proved Friday night.

They took the stage of The Bell House in Brooklyn on Friday night and played two red-hot sets.

The Bell House is thee  closest thing to a home club the Passaic County, N.J., quintet has these days. Former Maxwell’s co-owner and booker, Todd Abramson has been booking bands at the first-class Gowanus music venue for some time now.

Guitarist Bill Million and bassist Brenda Sauter.

Guitarist Bill Million and bassist Brenda Sauter.

(Click through to the jump for more photos and info about The Feelies’ upcoming shows.) Continue reading

Advertisements

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

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

An insider’s view of The Feelies

Glenn Mercer and Stanley Demeski.

Glenn Mercer and Stanley Demeski.

Katie Demeski

Katie Demeski

Katie Demeski, daughter of The Feelies drummer Stan Demeski, has come through as I hoped with a fastastic post on her blog about The Feelies’ Fourth of July Weekend shows at Maxwell’s. I’ll let her tell the story and try to get out of the way. Go, Katie:

So the Feelies shows came and went and, again, they were amazing. On the first night, three of my friends came. One of them, Matt, was even at the sound check. The sound check itself ran a little late, but in the first hour or so, Glenn started playing “Billie Jean”. Then Dave started singing in falsetto and playing his snare to the beat. It was absolutely hilarious and kind of made my day.

Anyway, so we ate at Maxwell’s and my other friends, Dan and Liebold arrived. It was pretty packed that night, but we were able to get pretty good spots. As for the actual show, this year the Feelies started things out with some more mellow songs like “When Company Comes,” and a cover of “Sunday Morning.” New additions to the lineup included “Egyptian Reggae”, “Moscow Nights”, “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey,” and “Invitation” (although, as mentioned in a previous entry, they added that song on New Year’s Eve). There was even one new song, “Bluer Skies” on which Brenda’s husband, Rich Barnes of Wild Carnation, even played keyboard on it while sitting on the little crate that is used as a step to get to the stage at Maxwell’s.

Friday night I went to the sound check with my dad because my mom and my brother were going to take the train after my mom got out of work. Anyway, Dave again started singing Michael Jackson when Andy the sound man told him he could sing into his mic if he wanted. So he sang “Thriller” and I felt the need to text Matt and inform him about it. I just chilled at Maxwell’s for most of the afternoon, reading Under the Banner of Heaven by John Krakauer. The show was pretty much the same as the day before, except I was standing next to a particularly obnoxious tall drunk man who got more and more drunk as the night progressed. Regardless it was fun.

On the Fourth of July, I took the train to Hoboken with my mom and brother and it was pretty damn crowded especially for the Hawthorne train station. My dad had asked me earlier in the week if I would help Bill’s nephew, Ben, film for his Feelies concert movie. Ben and his friend (Nick, I think?) had attatched a camera holder-thing to a pole and I was instructed to put the end of the pole in my pocket and film from a little farther away than I had been standing, using the screen on the camera to keep track of the shot. Ben also had all of the Feelies go into the dressing room alone and he filmed each of them for five minutes, not asking them any questions or anything. When Bill came out he said, “I feel violated.”

Thanks, Katie. You are awesome. Click here to read the rest of Katie’s entry.