Tag Archives: Stanley Demeski

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

Tonight may be your last chance to see The Feelies this year!

Glenn Mercer and Bill Million of The Feelies at Maxwell's in Hoboken, N.J., on Saturday, July 3. (Photos copyright 2009, Steven P. Marsh)

As has been the habit of The Feelies since their comeback in 2008, they booked shows around a holiday — in this case the Fourth of July at the band’s musical home, Maxwell’s in Hoboken, N.J.

Glenn Mercer's singing: strong and clear

This year the band booked three shows starting Friday and ending tonight, on the holiday itself. If you love The Feelies and you haven’t seen them yet this year, now’s the time to book. Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? made it to last night’s gig, and we’re glad we did.  The set was much the same as always — The Feelies have typically played the same set, with slight variations, at every show since the reunion. This is a band that likes predictability. But frontman Glenn Mercer‘s singing seemed stronger, clearer and more confident than ever, and the overall sound was crisp and clear —something that has not been a hallmark of many recent shows.

One thing worth noting, though. The band did do quite a few new songs — some of which have been in rotation for awhile, with a couple of other, even newer tunes, one of which remains untitled. It was a real treat to hear new material. It sounds strong and very much in keeping with what fans know and love The Feelies for without sounding like retreads.

Bass player Brenda Sauter played and looked great, and wasn't wearing the wrist brace she usually sports.

We’re hearing that it’s not clear when the band will play again, since no other gigs are booked so far this year. And a member of the band’s team says the quintet is going into the studio after tonight work on a new album.

Doors for tonight’s show are at 8 o’clock at Maxwell’s, 1039 Washington St., Hoboken, N.J. Showtime is 9 p.m. There’s no opening band, so get there by 9 or you’ll miss out. Tickets are $25, and still available here.

If you drive, allow extra time. It’s the Fourth of July, and there will be crowds of people out to watch fireworks. It’ll be hellish getting around, and parking will be extremely difficult, especially if you usually count on parking along Sinatra Drive, which is closed for the weekend. Take public transportation if possible.

Click to the jump for more photos from last night’s show.

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The Feelies on the Fourth

Glenn Mercer, Stanley Demeski and Bill Million of The Feelies at Maxwell's on July 4, 2009. (Copyright 2009, Steven P. Marsh)

Glenn Mercer, Stanley Demeski and Bill Million of The Feelies at Maxwell's on July 4, 2009. (Copyright 2009, Steven P. Marsh)

It would be easy to get used to making a tradition out of celebrating the Fourth of July with The Feelies.

Although their long-awaited comeback started at Maxwell’s in Hoboken

Bill Million and bassist Brenda Sauter.

Bill Million and bassist Brenda Sauter.

on June 30-July 2,  2008 (and those shows thrilled me) , they announced their return in a big way  two days later, opening for Sonic Youth in NYC’s Battery Park on the Fourth of July. The sun, sweat, humidity and the huge crowd just made the experience more intense. The band did not disappoint.

Percussionist Dave Weckerman seems content to stay in the background.

Percussionist Dave Weckerman seems content to stay in the background.

As you’ve probably read here earlier, The Feelies took over Maxwell’s for three nights this month, from July 2-4.

On that last night, thousands crammed the streets and waterfront of Hoboken to see the Macy’s fireworks, while dozens of true believers ignored the holiday hoopla and chose to watch the guitar pyrotechnics of Glenn Mercer and Bill Million instead.

I didn’t mind missing the fireworks outside, not at all.

Glenn Mercer

Glenn Mercer

The Feelies are a band that doesn’t offer too many surprises. Their shows are like your favorite jeans, well-worn, broken in  and perfectly comfortable. They feel good — and just right. They don’t throw many curve balls — even the multiple covers they did as encores over the three nights had little variation from night to night. But none of that matters to a true Feelies fan. In fact, curve balls might ruin the equilibrium.

At the July 4 show, I was positioned very close to the stage. That made for clearer shots of individual band members or pairings of players, but didn’t give me a chance to shoot an overview. So this will give you a very different perspective than the previous night’s shots.

Rich Barnes of Wild Carnation (and Brenda's husband) helped out on keyboard.

Rich Barnes of Wild Carnation (and Brenda's husband) helped out on keyboard.

My position made it tough to spot local heroes in the audience. But at the end of the night, I spotted Georgia Hubley and Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo returning to the music room as the majority of the crowd was filing out. You can always count on them being at a Feelies show. The only other face I wish had been in the crowd was filmmaker Jonathan Demme, who featured The Feelies as “The Willies” in his 1986 movie Something Wild. I guess that was his payback for making  Stop Making Sense two years earlier about the Talking Heads instead of The Feelies!