The Features | 10.08.12

features sqThe band launched right into it. No messing about with a hello; it was full on from the get go.


Bottom Lounge, Chicago


I’ve been familiar with the Features since their debut album, Exhibit A, and found myself digging not only the vocals but the whole package. It’s a little bit Appalachia, a little bit indie rock with some travelling circus thrown in there. I don’t know, but it sort of makes sense. Trust me: It’s a weird description, but it is music hipsters and yuppies can both like, and that’s OK.

I’ve always had a thing for singers with non-traditional voices. Think Thom Yorke, Matt Bellamy, Win Butler, Conor Oberst—you get the idea. So it’s no wonder that I’m finally going to see the Features. I always like to see the weird voice live just to see if, you know, the weird voice is real. My biggest musical pet peeve is when you see a band live and it sounds nothing like what you had on record, and not in a good way. You gotta pass the sniff test.

The band launched right into it. No messing about with a hello; it was full on from the get go. They were going to have a good time whether you cared or not, and the crowd took no issue. They were all in with the band and it was going to be a good show.

I love it when a band just lays it out there, because sometimes it’s hard to play to a not-so-full house. They didn’t give a crap. Singer Matt Pelham belted out each song as if it was the last song of the set. He has a great howl, and when using said howl, made sure not to eat the microphone and muffle it.

I thought the set list as a whole did a great job of combining songs from each album so seamlessly, you almost couldn’t tell which songs were new and which were older. Despite the high intensity of the show, some of my highlights from the night came from the slower songs, “Baby’s Hammer” and “The Idea of Growing Old.” The only stutter of the night was when they introduced a new song that still needed the kinks worked out, but they bounced back and got the pace back on track.

You really get a sense of who this band is and where they come from in songs like “The Temporary Blues,” “Big Mama Gonna Whip Us Good,” and “How It Starts.” Overall, it was a great show. All the songs sounded like they did on album, if not better. You realize a band like this will never be fully understood unless you see them live, where the songs really come to life. Oh, and Matt—you have a weird voice, and I like it. | Kiernan Scrima

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