The Feelies, Dirty Three With Nick Cave Revisit Classic Albums at All Tomorrow’s Parties

September 12th, 2009 by Jonah Weiner Leave a reply »

Now in its second year, the upstate New York installment of the U.K. concert series All Tomorrow’s Parties prides itself on being unlike other festivals. There is no corporate sponsorship, there is no $5 water for sale, and (perhaps most humanely) there are no Port-a-Potties. ATP NY happens at a Catskills country club called Kutsher’s, a frozen-in-time sort of place where carpeted walls are common and the bands play not outside on grassy fields but in one of two dark ballrooms. In the larger of the two, a cosmic star-scape mural worthy of an ’80s Laser Tag emporium commands the walls.

The festival’s first night was given largely to “Don’t Look Back” performances: a canon-building exercise in which a band plays a “classic” album, more or less in full, and in order. In the late afternoon, New Jersey’s the Feelies took the stage to perform their 1980 debut, Crazy Rhythms. The band, proto-indie-rockers, always cultivated a buttoned-up, clean cut, borderline geeky aesthetic, both in the way they dressed and the way they wrote music. Last night, their songs were buttoned up to the point of bursting: kinetic, deceptively simple polyrhythms courtesy of two drummers (and, on album opener “The Boy With the Perpetual Nervousness,” three) created a pulsating, nervous grid upon which bright, clipped guitar notes were arranged, occasionally loosening into sprays of jubilant noise.

“Loveless Love” started like a gathering storm, moody and foreboding, and gradually accelerated, different elements finally locking into an insistent, almost ferocious formation. But that “almost” was key — the songs generated near-unbearable friction, but the band always kept them hovering on the edge of combustion. The effect was tense and tantalizing, like h...

Article Source: Rolling Stone : Rock and Roll Daily


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