“What a tiiiiny venue!” proclaims the tall, middle aged woman in front to me, teenage daughter and husband in tow. She’s right, it is. It is of course Nottingham’s beloved Rough Trade. The lucky few who had managed to snag a ticket with their purchase of Tallulah, Feeder’s 10th studio album, have been invited for a special album preview and signing on 14 August 2019.
Walking on stage, Grant Nicholas greets the crowd like an old friend at the pub. And that’s the crux of tonight's performers. Feeder, despite their 25 years of success, are still able to walk in front of 100 people and play like it’s their first time. Without hesitation, Just the Way I’m Feeling, the opening track from 2002’s Comfort in Sound, rings out and the crowd laps it up - including myself. Feeder were the first band I’d ever seen when I was 12, and I was anxious to see if the hype was just in my nostalgia. It wasn’t. They’re just how I remember.
"The seemingly effortless sound is only testament to how good Feeder genuinely are, both in the studio and live."
Nicholas introduces us to Fear of Flying: “I need you all to sing – you’ll know when,” and even though the track is taken from latest record Tallulah, the reprise was dutifully belted back. Much of the new album was previewed through quick one-minute bursts - after all, Feeder only had an hour on stage. The stand-out was Daily Habit. With the OK-Go rhythm and syphoned energy from their 2001 album Echo Park, it epitomises what Feeder are about.
Proclaiming that there’s no set list, Nicholas insisted that “Jamming is just the best way, really.” People scream out suggestions and Feeder delivers. High, taken from 1996’s Polythene comes, and it was here that I really appreciated how Feeder have progressed creatively. Those introspective lyrics, masterful bass lines, and fervent delivery are all still present in Tallulah. The seemingly effortless sound is only testament to how good Feeder genuinely are, both in the studio and live. At this point, Nicholas tells us that Tallulah currently sits at number 4 in the charts, and to his faux chagrin “Lewis Capaldi has beaten us to third!”
The hour has come and gone and the only real way to end a Feeder gig, acoustic or not, is to play Buck Rogers. With the crowd decidedly taking both roles of lead guitar and lead vocals, the P.A. struggles to keep up, but that doesn’t matter, because this is Feeder and just like that tall, middle aged woman said, it really was a tiiiiny venue.
Tallulah is out now on all formats. Feeder next play Nottingham on the 20th November 2019 at Rock City.