The Felice Brothers played two amazing shows at the Bell House in Brooklyn, NY last week and we’re happy to have multiple reviews, photos, and videos from the concerts. The band has been killing it lately at their live shows, with great reviews coming in from most of their recent tour dates. Scroll past the two Brooklyn reviews and videos to check out some reviews from some of their other recent shows.
The first review from the sold-out first night comes from Brian Nowakowski at Joonbug.com. Brian writes:
The lights dim, the anticipation stirs…the show is about to begin.
As the Felice Brothers file onstage, the crowd roars with welcoming hoots and claps. The building twang “Fire at the Pageant” swells and in kicks the band. It’s gritty, it’s floor stomping country, it’s folk-rock majesty.
James Felice caresses his accordion while his older brother, Ian Felice, strums his six string. The pair sing in unison for the opening track, belting out the recurring chorus, “1-2-4-5-6-7-8-9 thousand, Fire, Fire at the mountain, would everybody calm down please stop shouting.
Read the rest of his awesome review here.
Our second review comes from our friend Carly who has a history with the band…she says:
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Let me start this review with a disclaimer: before last night, I had fallen solidly out of love with the Felice Brothers. Yes, it was love at first sight back in November of 2007 at the DAR Constitution Hall. And like most fast loves, I fell hard. My little sister and I ran into the lobby after the show, and were bear-hugged by Jimmy and shook Simone’s non-cane-holding hand (he had some sort of broken leg/ankle at the time). I immediately felt their sincerity, their mischief, and their authentic happiness. From then on, I traveled wherever I could to see the brothers, introduced all my friends and family to their music, and started baking them cupcakes.
But after a couple years, the shine started wearing off. Simone, whose breathtaking Albany (Sept 2008) rendition of The Devil is Real remains one of the most awe-inspiring performances I’ve seen, left the band. The other brothers, on a trajectory of increasing fame, went through an adjustment period, and came out strong—though some things had changed. I felt like the warmth I used to find in their pre- and post-show chatting was now faked (and sometimes totally absent). Finally, I went to a show in Richmond, where I was living at the time, with a slew of friends to whom I had promised nothing short of a magical experience. It’s hard to remember exactly why now, but it was lackluster in many ways, and I finally decided that I needed to take a step back.
Fast forward two years. I now live in NYC and have seen many a great (and lackluster) show at venues all over the city. I can’t say exactly what drew me to give the brothers another shot (maybe they were playing so close to my apartment that I felt obligated), but I got my tickets, grabbed my fella, and headed out through the rain for last night’s show. I think having a great opener is a good omen for a concert—and Shovels and Rope more than fit that bill. They played a rollicking set, with a surprisingly full sound despite being only two folks. Each person was deliciously multi-instrumental, which speaks volumes about their talent, and they played everything with gusto and charm. If you can, listen to their stuff.
The Felice’s set was electrifying. I caught Dave’s attention while he was setting up the kit and asked him about the likelihood of hearing “Marie”, and he was dismissive—and afterwards I felt like an idiot for requesting it, because its slow, deep country sound would have been utterly incongruous with the rest of their picks…and that’s a good thing. I don’t have a setlist in my possession, but they did a bunch of new songs along with some old classics (and some REALLY old classics, like Hey Hey Revolver). To my delight, the older songs were modified a bit to better fit into the new album’s more exploratory sounds, which created a genius combination of familiarity and interest. Also to my delight, the ghetto-MC role that Greg Farley had been playing a couple years ago has been toned down to playing cool samples instead of awkward arm-over-the-audience movements. Good move, boys.
Other highlights of the show: special guests The Diamond Doves loaned a horn section (plus clarinet) that was pure fun; super special surprise guest Conor Oberst appeared during the set to loan vocals on It’s a Wonderful Life and then again for the [extremely-predictable] encore-ender, Frankie’s Gun; Ian Felice joined the audience for some singing and dancing; Dave seems to be well on his way to finding the perfect balance between in control/out of control that is the band’s meter (and to think when I met him he asked a friend of mine to give him an hour-long pre-show drumming lesson); and Jimmy’s soulful rendition of a song whose title I don’t know, about being homeless and without love but still being happy (he can sing AND play accordion, swoon).
So here’s the bottom line: if you’ve ever loved the Felice Brothers, see them on this tour if you can. I was completely ready for this show to be the final nail in the coffin of my fandom, but instead I was blown away by the energy that they brought and the fantastic music they continue to make. I’m sorry I ever broke up with you, Felice Brothers. Please take me back?
Be sure to check the videos page for more videos that will be posted soon from both nights. Photos are going to be added to the concert section as well.
Recent concert reviews: