gerry hectic

17:40 11th April 2005

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The Features are from Sparta, Tennessee and they supported the Kings Of Leon on their last UK tour. Locals who saw KOL at Poole last November have turned up to hear again the alternative Kings of southern blues-infused rock.

But first up was local band, Fever Kicks who gave a spirited performance for their fans.

Birmingham's Exist are the tour support band.  They’ve
only been together for 18 months and have already received support from Radio 1’s Steve Lamacq.  They are fronted by singer-guitarist Matt with James (guitar), Simon (Rickenbacker bass) and drummer Chris. Matt says The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays and The Chems are amongst their influences. Such a hybrid turns out to sound like The Music at their bass infused best.  Particularly on ‘Fear’, which was the demo that Lamacq picked up on. They ended with the powerful ‘Spiders & Saints’, which is to be the single (out 9th May).  Hopefully, an album release will follow.

So whilst some of the boys from Exist might have felt at
home at a venue called ‘The Villa’, this is not the type of venue The Features would have played supporting KOL. This is the first gig of the tour to promote the release of the album entitled ‘Exhibit A’ (out 18th April). Undaunted by the less than grande surroundings they lashed into the set showing off their Southern fried Punk-a-Billy influences with ‘Harder To Ignore’.  Imagine an American version of The Hives meets Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster with a mid-70’s Rat Scabies on drums and Feargal Sharkey on vocals. O.K., that doesn’t sound too pretty. But when added to clever lyrics and the ‘fairground’ keyboards, throw Elvis Costello and the Attractions into the pot. Some combination, eh?

Examples of the witty lyrics come early in the set with ‘Me & The Skirts’, ‘Dark Room’ (which is about having a dirty mind as a photo lab) and ‘There’s a Million Ways To Sing The Blues’ which doesn’t reduce the energy levels as it’s subtitled “and this isn’t one of them”. It’s rockin’. Mid-set they play arguably their two most pop oriented tracks, ‘Exhibit A’ and the single ‘Blow It Out’ (out 11th April, video currently to be seen on MTV2).  And when they go "pop" it’s more quirky pop.  This is helped by the keyboard player Parrish Yaw who adds some ol’ time Wurlitzer organ plus a bit of Moog.  The rest of the band is Matthew Pelham (vocals & guitar), Roger Dabbs (bass/vocals) and Rollum Hass (drums/vocals).

After that ‘Kari-Ann’, ‘Circus’ and the KOL yodelled style ‘Exercising Demons’ stood out. Roger tells Gigwise after  the gig that he’d not heard the ‘Kings Of Leon’s favourite band’ tag which which we found a little surprising and that he liked the Kaiser Chiefs! Well we certainly predict a riot for this band as their more commercial tunes eat into your earwax. If you get near this tour, get out and have yourself a good time y’all.

More information: www.exist.tv, www.thefeatures.com

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