Friday, October 30, 2009

The Felice Brothers From Shepard's Bush Empire

This is not so much a review more just an acknowledgement to how good they were.

Firstly I deliberately went with low expectations only because I was at The Luminaire gig a couple of years back and seeing that was not only my gig of the year was one of the best gigs of my life, the energy, the talent, well you know what I mean.

So, I arrived about 2 songs into A.A bondy's set who I have to say was terrific and had a pretty full crowd to perform to. I actually bumped into a friend who was going to see him rather than the brothers. He played a great set and reminded me in his looks like Jakob Dylan.

Shepeherd's bush empire has a real intimate feel to it with three balcony's which give the impression that they are bending in towards the stage,capacity is 2000 but you don't feel that. Anyway, the place was rammed, I was in the stalls standing and it was literally toe to toe, absolutely rammed.

I don't have a playlist and so can only give you the tracks I remember them playing.They kicked off the whole thing with Marlboro Man, after that in no particular order I remember Helen Fry, Frankies gun, run chicken run (encore) Ruby Mae, St Stephens end, Whiskey in my whiskey,Ballad of Lou, Ahab, Roll on Arte, Hey hey revolver, White Limo, New Mexico, farleys song,Endless night. They played for well over an hour and a half and were trully outstanding. Farley's antics y'know were not too bad, he was running around a lot throwing water on the drum kit and stuff and was actually entertaining, his song he did on his own was amazing but nothing like Ahab sung by Christmas. He reminded me of a young Lou reed now he's without mousetache and his snarling version of this song was a highlight for me, full of fire. But to be honest the whole band were just mind blowingly good, James singing New Mexico had the crowd in complete silence and Ian as ever was as good as I've ever seen and his voice also seems to have improved massively, I love the way he one minute looks and behaves like a shambolic drunk (at one point he called himself and the band 'just a bunch of losers from the catskills') but still managing to play and sing as well as ever and other times when singing solo he looks as delicate as snow, so tender and heartfelt you can't help but will him on towards whatever he's aiming or looking for, the man has that special something.

A nice touch was when about four or five tracks in Farley said something like "wow, there'a lot of you here" and James took his hat off and looked 'up to the rafters' and was genuinely gobsmacked, mouth wide open in awe, I think the whole band were genuinely shocked by the turn out, Jeez, I was shocked by the turnout, but this is a beautiful venue, google it and see. On a personal note I'd love to see them play this style of venue again, they seemed to bring that bar room sound into this venue but sang and played like they were still in a bar room. A.A Bondy played with them a fair bit too and all in all I can't say enough good things about this gig, one of the gigs of my life.

I'd love it if a recording materialises from this as I would love to experience it again.

From The Lonesome Drifter on the Gun.

Video by Spiritual Opiates Channel