Show Review

The Features

Live @ The Basement

Brian Ahnmark
Of the myriad reasons to fall in love with Nashville quartet The Features, the deal-sealer is their workmanlike approach to a live performance. In summation: Tune, roll up sleeves, conquer.

(To be more precise: Roll up pants, as drummer Rollum Haas did in preparation of his pending assault on the kit.)

The Features – vocalist/guitarist Matt Pelham, bassist Roger Dabbs, keyboardist Mark Bond and Haas – needed just an hour to scorch the greater Columbus metropolitan area with a 16-song set at The Basement on May 7. There was no banter beyond the occasional pleasantry. Rather, the band omitted such dalliances in favor of pummeling tuneage and wanton property damage.

Or maybe it's just that Pelham likes to save his breath for the belly-deep, blood-curdling screams that he delivers with regularity from every corner of the stage.

Opening with the catastrophic “Circus” from their 2004 LP Exhibit A, the band served up a potent array of material representing each of their three albums. The embers turned into a blaze five songs in with “Foundation's Cracked” from 2009's Some Kind of Salvation, smoldering atop Bond's deceptively sweet piano melody. The ginormous vocal hook of “The Temporary Blues” and Haas' ferocious fills on “Me & The Skirts” (Exhibit A) fueled the breathless carnage. Ultimately, Haas broke a snare wire and ripped the shredded victim from his drum with maniacal glee.

Pelham joined in the destructive fracas, snapping a guitar string during the punk-thrash main set closer. It was a fitting climax, following breakout smash “Lions” and six of the heaviest cuts from The Features' excellent 2011 record Wilderness. Pelham donned a backup guitar for an encore treat: “Thursday,” a limited edition single release from 2000.

Local boys Bonneville did Columbus proud, offering bright melodic nuggets in the opening slot. The largely instrumental suite “Amy's House” was particularly ambitious and memorable.