The Features – Pre Show Coverage

5 09 2008

This article first appeared in The W Weekly in Lexington, Kentucky in 2005.

Imagine getting a personal invite to play a friendly game of baseball with none other than The Strokes and Kings Of Leon. To many music fans, this is the stuff that dreams are made of. However, Matt Pelham, lead singer of The Features, had more important business to atten d to. Taking care of his twin daughters.

After speaking with Pelham, it instantly becomes clear that this grounded approach to his personal life carries over into The Features as well. One would think that after releasing their album Exhibit A on Universal Records, performing overseas to crowds of over 7,000 people, and making their nationwide television debut on Jimmy Kimmel that the early stages of fame might go to their heads. However, The Features are still the same group of friends who just want to make music on their own terms without conforming to industry stereotypes by “wearing skin tight pants” in order to sell more records.

The Features formed in Sparta, Tennessee in 1993 as a group of friends who simply wanted to make music. After a few shows in neighboring Murfreesboro, they joined the likes of Self and Fluid Oz. on Spongebath Records. The group slowly became a staple of the town’s live music scene, drawing in fans with their energetic live performances and sing-along choruses. After Spongebath disbanded, two friends at the label decided to co-manage them and the rest, as they say, is history.

The Features sound is made up of suspenseful verses, soaring choruses, and the pervasive retro synthesizers of keyboardist Parrish Yaw. While many bands may have a keyboardist for aesthetics, none feature it as prominently as The Features. Yaw’s melodic lines add a key element to the group that rounds out their sound, whether it’s adding to the wall of sound that make up their choruses or filling in rhythmic space of the verses.

If you haven’t already heard their music, their website is the place to go. The site is unique in that it is divided into two sections. One for the typical information one can expect from a band’s website, and the other a more personalized blog written by the group where fans can find everything from demos from the new album to exclusive photos of drummer Hollum Haas during a chance meeting with Metallica’s Lars Ulrich.

Despite being a self-described “quiet guy,” Pelham leaves most of his quiet persona behind once he hits the stage. The result is a visually captivating performance of the group “where their most comfortable.” One can expect to see Haas beat the drums with a death wish while Pelham employs his trademark “back up and scream at the mic” technique at the height of his verses. Even the little things like the askew manner in which Pelham holds his guitar can be quite pleasing to see.

If you’re a new fan, don’t worry because their songs are accessible enough to sing along to at their show, even if you don’t know them by heart. Their single, “Blow It Out,” for example, features a breezy and unforgettable “doo doo doo” line between verses, and there is even a clap-along chorus to their song “See You Though.”

Despite how lively the group is during their set, the guys are back to their reserved selves once the music stops so don’t expect too much between song banter. This comes not as a product of stage fright, but rather that he “doesn’t know those people,” Pelham explains. He joking mentions that he “hopes to be able to tell a story between songs in ten years.” Until then, there are plenty of great Features songs to listen to.

The Features will be at The Dame on Saturday, March 25. The show starts at 9 p.m. and cover is $5. Their current album, Exhibit A, is available on Universal Records.

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