Apr 21, 2011

The Felice Brothers @ Annandale Hotel

Ragged glory, hallelujah good times. Blood, sweat, maybe even tears. They are American and it is pretty bleeding obvious. They are rough and ready, beauty delivered with charm and swagger. They speak to me. They know me. I need them. I know it now.

The Felice Brothers played their first Australian show on Wednesday night at the hopefully continuing Annandale Hotel. For 90 minutes they traversed mostly every strain of music. Folk, rock, country, ragtime, zydeco. Even electronic. It was a glorious soup of clattering sounds. Voices rang out and instruments clashed. All with stout heart and liberal soul. It was pretty damn special. The boys from the Catskills have a new album out and thankfully it just received a release on Spunk. So I have had a week to digest it. It shows the band in a new light, with new sounds. It's pretty great, so I was happy to hear 5 songs from the album including the opener "Fire At The Pageant", a raucous and rambunctious tune to start with. Then quickly came the highlight for me of the night. The glorious "Murder By Mistletoe" was stark and beautiful and moving. Much love. Thankfully though there were many more highs to follow. New single "Ponzi" showed off its electronic funk zone, whilst "Wonderful Life" was heartfelt and touching. Another new song in "Back In The Dancehalls" was well received with Christmas taking the lead vocals. Then at about halfway the actual brothers James and Ian were left on stage with James taking the lead on an old tune in "Got What I Need". Man, the big man has a huge voice. Of course Ian is the main vocalist. His drawl is quite distinctive. He certainly has a way about him on stage. Loved his take of another oldie in "Hey Hey Revolver". The show closed with a distinctly great trifecta too. "The Big Surprise" was slowed almost to a walk and resonated deeply. "Frankie's Gun!" was naturally a show stopper, whilst the epic "River Jordan" was a perfect closer. I think this is my new favourite song. After a short break Ian and Christmas returned for a great rendition of "Saint Stephen's End" before the whole band reunited for the crowd pleaser in "Whiskey In My Whiskey". Special mention should be made too of the contribution of violinist Greg Farley. He was great, as was James Felice on piano accordion. All in all 'twas a great show. A display of subtlety and ferocity. Music that burns.

Set List
Fire At The Pageant
Murder By Mistletoe
White Limo
Take This Bread
Wonderful Life
Back In The Dancehalls
Greatest Show On Earth
Got What I Need
Honda Civic
Hey Hey Revolver
Love Me Tenderly
Goddamn You, Jim
Run Chicken Run
The Big Surprise
Frankie's Gun!
River Jordan

Saint Stephen's End
Whiskey In My Whiskey


  • At April 21, 2011 , Anonymous Jenn said...

    I had not idea the Felice Brothers were in town. Damn. Discoverd them in New Zealand in February when hanging out with The Eastern Family (who opened for Old Crow Medicine Show when they last toured NZ) and couldn't get enough. Have been on constant rotation since.

    The Eastern will be in Australia in May. I'll send you details when I have them. Hardest working band in NZ!

  • At April 21, 2011 , Anonymous Jenn said...

    And they played Frankie's Gun. Double Damn. Would love to hear that live.

  • At April 21, 2011 , Blogger Wayne said...

    They were great Jenn. Really loved Murder By Mistletoe, Wonderful Life and River Jordan.

  • At April 22, 2011 , Blogger mudtoy said...

    is there a recording of this show knocking around anywhere?

  • At April 28, 2011 , Anonymous Jenn said...

    Will be sure to see them next time they are through this way...


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