The Feeling at Somerset House

Another night, another visit to Somerset House, but however often you’re there it’s impossible to take such a beautiful venue for granted. This time it was to see one of the UK’s best live acts. Armchair music lovers may be surprised to hear this, but The Feeling rock. Seriously. I must have seen them a dozen times now and they’ve never disappointed.

The first time, unexpectedly, was part of an XFM Winter Wonderland gig at the Brixton Academy. As the boys came on stage that day (in the middle of the annual Indie music fest for Shelter), I confess I feared for them. The audience practically turned their collective back and paid not the slightest bit of attention – they’d come to see Kasabian or Tenacious D or whoever it was and the sound of chatter from the floor threatened to dominate the guitars on stage. It lasted about a minute until everyone realized they were experiencing something special and, by the time we reached Video Killed the Radio Star (the band’s traditional final song), the audience was eating out of their hands.

Another reason I’ve seen them quite so often is that they’re so goddam generous to their fans. Not a month goes by without a message pinging into my mailbox offering me free tickets to a Feeling gig at one special secret location or another. One time I even went along to the soundcheck. Singer Dan Gillespie Sells was sitting at the piano his brother built taking requests when I piped up to suggest REO Speedwagon’s comeback classic, Can’t Fight this Feeling. Later, I told him I’d intended him to change the lyrics from “this” to “The”. However much people may think they’re not cool or the music’s just that bit too poppy, go and see them and you’ll be unable to fight The Feeling any more.

The Feeling's Somerset House setlist

The Feeling's Somerset House setlist

At Somerset House they showed their fan-friendly natures once again by allowing one of the throng up on stage to propose to his girlfriend. Eventually she joined him and (I think) accepted, but she didn’t look best pleased. The proposal bisected Never Be Lonely, just one of many highlights including the lovely Rosé and incomparable Sewn. Fan’s favourite I Love it when you Call ended the pre-encore section. It’s always noticeable how much fun the band look to be having on stage – and they’re not afraid of throwing in the occasional cover either. Before they finished we were treated to an unexpected rendition of Aha’s Take on Me that, had we been indoors, would have brought the house down.

Next, before the encore, the boys went all British Sea Power, processing through the crowd wearing military uniforms and beating giant drums. It didn’t quite work, but with a bit more practice it could become a new favourite part of the show. Finally, as I shouted, “Bring on the Buggles”, in no time at all they were back on stage, epaulettes discarded, singing, “I heard you on the wireless back in fifty two”.

(Apologies for the sound quality in the video – Richard’s bass always seems to come out at the resonant frequency of my phone’s microphone. Every other band is fine.)

If you enjoy live music and haven’t yet been to one of their gigs, treat yourself – you won’t be disappointed.
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~ by keithmansfield on July 21, 2008.

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