Sunday, June 28, 2009

Epic Show back Home

Thanks for the tip about the Rosendale Cafe. It's 3 a.m. and I just got back to Staten Island. The show was absolutely epic. I am so glad I made the drive up. The girls couldn't come with me, and it's too bad, because it was a blast. Rosendale Cafe is a cozy vegan place, with seats for maybe 45 people or so. The place was packed with people eating when I arrived at about 7:30. The friendly owner said they could serve me if I ordered quickly, because by 8:30 or so they were taking out all the tables so more people could stand. The cafe was the smallest venue I've seen the Felice Brothers in, and they put on quite a show for a packed house of family, friends and, judging from the conversations I heard, quite a few local folks who were hearing them for the first time. Someone else got the set list, so I'll just mention what were the highlights for me, starting with Ian soloing with "Buffalo Bill" as the opener. I've been listening to the "Iantown" album quite a bit, so I was delighted to hear him play this great song. There was a beautiful new spiritual-style ballad about the River Jordan which I am keen to hear again soon. The excellent trombonist, Dean Jones, joined the band for quite a few of the numbers. Ian introduced their sister Claire who sang on several of the songs. Dave the newish drummer sat in for one of the songs. Gill Landry from Old Crow Medicine show was enjoying the music from his seat behind Searcher at the drum set, and eventually came on to sing too. At one point Gill picked up a guitar and it seemed like we might get some playing from him (he was great at the Clearwater festival with Old Crow Medicine Show last weekend) but I guess we will have to wait for the Big Surprise tour to hear him play again. The brothers played two sets. Every number was high energy, tight and joyous. They were all giving one thousand percent. After "Chicken Wire" in the first set Ian remarked that it was for Michael Jackson, because of the line, "the children danced to "Billy Jean" by the neighbor's fence." And then they opened the second set with a truly unforgettable cover of "Billie Jean" with Searcher singing the verses and Ian jumping into the crowd for some disco dancing with one of the ladies. I saw someone filming a lot of the show on her camera --I sure hope she captured "Billy Jean." I thought Christmas gave the best performances I've heard of "Ahab" and "Step-Dad" and Farley poured his heart in for his song too. At one point in the show, Ian started calling out names (was it Ryan 1, Ryan 2? I'm not sure) and said that he needed to change a guitar string, so this guy came up and did a nice poetry stint. Pretty cool to hear Dean Jones' tones punctuating the rap as Xmas and Search laid down the beat. Late in the night Ian launched into the Star Spangled Banner and the whole room joined in, so I didn't feel so bad that we missed hearing them sing it at the Hall of Fame Classic in Cooperstown. After that I heard Search request "Boy from Lawrence County" from Ian who replied, "Nah -- Let's rock!" He launched into Cincinnati Queen, then Two Hands and finally Penn Station at the end of which we got the Farley drum dive, and general chaos as drummer Dave jumped on top of Jimmy who flipped him over his shoulder as beer, mike stands and dancing maniacs flew in all directions.