Thursday, April 23, 2009

Webster Hall April 17-2009

Show Review: The Felice Brothers

Having seen The Felice Brothers two times before, I had an idea for what I was in for. The band that hails from the Catskills played a headlining show at Webster Hall in New York City on Friday, April 17th 2009. They are currently touring to support their new album Yonder is the Clock, the second on the Team Love record label and fourth album overall. It’s always a treat to see the energy and soul that the brothers bring to the stage when playing a live show.

Felice Brothers - Live at Webster Hall

As a friend and I arrived early, I was happy to see James Felice mingling with the crowd members. Just about every time I’ve seen the band, I’ve also seen James among the audience members before or after the show. That’s one reason to see this band live - their connection with the audience. Not only do they captivate with their lyrics and intensity, but they entertain with their comments and chemistry.

After getting a poster signed by James and purchasing the new album (on CD only….no vinyl release yet), we went to get a beer and secure a spot close to the stage. Webster Hall was a decent sized venue, with a lot of good bands that have swung through there. Apparently there are other floors and sections of the bar/club but we didn’t get to see them. We were planted in the main concert hall watching Willie Mason play a short acoustic set before The Felice Brothers took the stage.

The opener had some fine tunes, but it was clear that the growing audience was awaiting for the headliners. The band members began to slowly take the stage, one by one each playing a slow jam. Christmas, on bass came out and was joined by a different drummer than I was used to. Simone Felice, one of the brothers, usually filled that role but news of a solo project that he was going to focus a little more time and energy on created the opportunity for Jeremy Backofen to take over behind the drum kit. Jeremy, also known as “The Searcher”, produced the Felice Brothers albums and has worked with Simone on drums so he was more than a suitable replacement.

The Felice Brothers - Live at Webster Hall

Christmas and the Searcher were then joined by James and Ian Felice, each tuning up and beginning to form the opening song. The crowd cheered when Simone then emerged from the back, banging on a big bass drum and theatrically walking around the stage. While he wouldn’t be on drums the whole night, he was here to support his brothers and everyone was more than glad for it.

They launched into “The Big Surprise”, the opening song from the new album. The video is included below:

The show that followed just kept getting better and better. They mixed in new tunes like “Cooperstown”, “Run Chicken Run”, and “Chicken Wire” and also played some of their older ballads like “Ballad of Lou the Welterweight” and “Goddamn you Jim”. The floor felt like it was going to fall out from under us because of the foot-stomping that was going on. The band played what felt like an endless encore set….mainly because after every song they would announce “We’ve got one more song to play” that drove the audience wild each time. The show ended with violin/washboard player Farley launching himself into the drumset and joining the band for a final bow.

If you haven’t seen the Felice Brothers live…do yourself a favor and buy a ticket to the closest show near you. They won’t disappoint.

Taken from our friend Sean Walsh at his live music blog