It has been 12 years since The Feeling’s debut album 12 Stops And Home came out and it is still about as romantic and longing as an album can be when named in reference to the Picadilly line. As the most played bands of 2006, I can promise you that you know at least one of the 4 singles that dominated the charts that year- statistically radios were playing The Feeling once every 5 minutes. That is dumb wild, nostalgic as hell, and lead into one incredible gig.
The O2 in Oxford is an odd place, in my opinion, to have a gig. Whilst I am used to people queuing up for hours, or even days, before the gig, I arrived 10 minutes before to a 3 person queue. You can tell whether a band really stands up when you judge a performance on their actual act and not on the crowd’s participation, and The Feeling really pulled through.
The Feeling, to me, did what Busted couldn’t do. They managed to play their songs from over 12 years ago with lyrics such as “shake that ass and misbehave” in a way that was, somehow, unobjectifying. You could tell the band were in their 30s, dressed in dress shirts and black jeans, but moments throughout the gig could have you mistaken. Band members striking power stances, jumping off of amps, and leaning on each other for solos in harmony as if they were still young rockstars showing off. It was as if they were self-aware of their growth, and understood exactly how to run a show that was fun but not boorish or tasteless.
The singer and frontman Dan Gillespie Sells should definitely be highlighted as a main reason for this. There was just something about watching him that made me really happy about the band’s maturation. He is the type of frontman to engage a crowd without having to run about the stage to earn the attention. There was something charming and candid about the way he spoke to the crowd, being honest about how some old lyrics were angsty and how some songs aged well with time, then selling all songs as if they were the matured gems of the album. To me, Dan is the kind of guy who would buy you a drink AND a cab home at the end of the night, if you catch my drift.
At the end of the night, The Feeling have a huge chance of an incredible comeback. The crowds roared regardless of the tiny venue and the band could have convinced me they were having the time of their lives. I will absolutely be going back to see them again as soon as I can.