published Thursday, August 15th, 2013

Indie pop giants The Features play benefit for injured local man — Aug. 18

The Features are Matt Pelham (guitar/vocals), Roger Dabbs (bass), Rollum Haas (drums) and Mark Bond (keys).
The Features are Matt Pelham (guitar/vocals), Roger Dabbs (bass), Rollum Haas (drums) and Mark Bond (keys).
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

IF YOU GO

• What: Joey Harvey and friends benefit with The Features, Mythical Motors, The Bohannons and Sir Army Suit

• When: 6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18

• Where: Rhythm & Brews, 221 Market St.

• Admission: $10

• Phone: 423-267-4644

• Website: www.rhythm-brews.com

• Artist website: thefeatures.com

DISCOGRAPHY

1997: "The Features" (EP)

2004: "Exhibit A" / "The Beginning (EP)

2006: "Contrast" (EP)

2008: "Some Kind of Salvation"

2011: "Wilderness"

2013: "The Features"

After an early morning accident on July 20 on Interstate 24 claimed the life of local autism activist Cynthia Joyner and injured three others, Mark Bond found himself questioning whether fate is avoidable.

Joyner was en route to Chattanooga with her friend Joey Harvey and two other passengers after a concert in Nashville by The Features. After the crash, Harvey, the band's sound engineer, was sent to Vanderbilt University Medical Center to undergo surgery to treat severe damage to his leg and hip.

Bond, The Features' keyboardist, says he asked Harvey to help pack up some equipment after the show, and he occasionally wonders whether he should have told him to leave earlier.

"Your mind jumps to thinking, 'What if I had just told him to go ahead and go? Maybe this wouldn't have happened,'" Bond says. "We're glad that he's still around. It's sobering."

Harvey, who has served as an engineer for many local bands, is recovering, but he has incurred medical bills and will be out of work while his injuries heal. To help him out, local bands including The Features, The Bohannons, Sir Army Suit and Mythical Motors are performing a benefit concert at Rhythm & Brews on Sunday, Aug. 18.

The accident marks a low point in what otherwise has been a positive year for The Features, which released a self-titled album, the band's fourth, in May.

Bond says The Features' approach to this latest project intentionally favored spontaneity. Instead of recording material they had road-tested to death, he says, the band entered the studio in Portland, Ore., with only rough outlines of most of the songs.

"A lot of times, if you go back and polish [a song] and polish it and polish it, it loses some of the initial excitement," Bond says. "Most of this record [had] that excitement because it was something we were ... committing [to] in the moment."

The band members, who mostly met as college students at Middle Tennessee State University, now are in their 30s. The album's 11 tracks, Bond says, reflect a greater willingness to experiment with sounds as well as a sense of their increased maturity from 20 years of playing together.

Harvey's accident occurred during a period of down time before September, when the band will hit the road to promote the album, which a Nashville Scene reviewer calls "a foot-stomping, tail-shaking package destined to appeal to [youngsters] of all ages."

Although Harvey's injuries may sideline him from going on tour, Bond says he hopes he can join them because he has become integral to the band, practically its fifth member.

"I think it would be awesome if he could, so long as he feels like he could do it," Bond says. "He's in such great spirits, despite what he went through. [At the hospital,] he was like, 'I want to pick up where we left off.'"

Contact staff writer Casey Phillips at cphillips@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @PhillipsCTFP.

about Casey Phillips...

Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, consumer technology, animals and news of the weird. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German from Middle Tennessee State University, where he worked as the features editor for the student newspaper, Sidelines. Casey's writing has earned numerous accolades, including first and second place ...

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