INDIE five-piece The Feeling took to Manchester’s Ruby Lounge last night, Quays News entertainment reporter Nathan Smith went along…
When The Feeling first stormed into the British charts in the summer of 2006, the post-Britpop soft melodic sound set them apart from their competing rivals with the likes of The Kooks and the Fratellis leading the way of the indie rock scene, the west Sussex five piece took ‘I love It When You Call’ and ‘Fill My Little World’ in a totally new direction, setting themselves apart and making their own unique sound.
With all that potential and self-found identity sitting on their shoulders, The Feeling were surely destined to go onto great things? Well, speaking to the Independent in a recent interview, things fell apart when the record label got greedy when seeking the next hit.
Long story short, Universal records flew the band out to LA to work with some top men to write the next hit, but by doing so the band lost its identity and any follow-up material failed to see much else enter the top 20.
This touching back story of falling from grace is not all doom and gloom. Like many bands that found fame in the indie rock peak phase of the early 00s, stepping out of the limelight and allowing themselves to work on what they wanted proves to have worked in their favour. Now 10 years on and with album number five due for release, The Feeling are very much alive and kicking.
Entering the misty stage of Manchester’s Ruby Lounge the Sussex lads kick things off with ‘Fill My Little World’ one of the instantly recognisable Feeling tracks. Soft melodic guitar hooks, harmonious backing vocals, with an added sense of come-on-lets-do-this attitude, the night looked to be a recollection of the trademark sound casual fans have come to expect.
Following the opening track however, it seemed the bar had been set too high as the announcement that they would be playing the whole of their upcoming album was met with one or two confused looks.
The idea of playing a new album in full would usually be deemed a brave decision had this been a band who hold a plethora of hits at their disposal, however with only a handful of tracks being well known, it seemed evident that no risk was there to be taken.
‘Wicked Heart’ is first up from the new album and is met with a relatively good response. The crowd are clapping along and the harmonious gentle backing vocals are echoed through the walls of the Ruby Lounge. Contrasted with the distortion of guitars indicating potential for a heavier and rockier Feeling to come.
It’s the couple of tracks that followed that indicated as to why The Feeling are not quite where they should be these days. ‘What’s The Secret’, ‘Repeat Today’ and ‘Shadow Boxing’ are showcased and something’s just not Feeling right. Whether it’s the crowd, the technicalities of the instruments, or poor set list choice, each track feels painfully samey offering nothing new or exciting to the repertoire that could have been so much more.
Explaining the track as “when you’re about to get with someone and you’re wondering if they’re the real deal, this one’s called real deal,” Dan Gillespie introduces ‘Real Deal’. As the the track begins there’s a sense as though this could be the one to follow in the footsteps of ‘Never Be Lonely’. With catchy vocals and guitar solos which again indicate a new direction and sound The Feeling seem to pulling themselves towards. However, whether due to a technical fault or not, the high pitched solo which attempted to be an impressive end to a relatively good track comes off as more Marty McFly at the end of the Enchantment Under The Sea Ball, and not in a fun way. There’s a wincing amount of feedback which denotes all the efforts the track and the solo held.
The standout track of the night, which was taken from the upcoming album, was easily ‘Feel Something’. A heartfelt love ballad which really allows Gillespie to come into his own. Sporting a plain white tee and a sense that the lyrics cut deeper than just singing, the powerful vocals prove once again a new direction, new sound, and the sheer potential The Feeling hold. Exploring themes of moving on after a long term relationship, the lyrics of ‘It’s alright’ are screamed down the mic as a real sense of genuine passion is felt as you feel that now you are looking at the real deal.
Bringing the night to close, the bigger tracks are played which acts as a sudden energy boost to the crowd. As the majority of the songs played so far have been mediocre and failed to hold the attention of the Ruby Lounge, ‘Never Be Lonely’ the often forgotten ‘Sewn’ and obviously ‘I Love It When You Call’ receive the best reception with the crowd as now everyone is bouncing and having the time that they probably should have been having throughout the gig, and not the final three tracks.
By Nathan Smith