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Review Sun May 08 2011

Review: The Felice Brothers @ Lincoln Hall

scrap•py/ˈskrapē/Adjective: Consisting of disorganized, untidy, or incomplete parts; Fragmented; Full of fighting spirit. There is no other word which more accurately summates The Felice Brothers set Friday night at Lincoln Hall; from the musical arrangements, to the plaid shirts and shaggy haircuts. The down-home five piece, consisting of a pair of Catskill raised brothers surnamed Felice, a former traveling diceman and two close friends, can't help but make authentic, backcountry folk-rock music. But as down-home as that may sound, they are most certainly not just another backporch washboard band. They took their root sound and disjointed and dirtied it up with an old-world like accordion, 808's, trumpets, samples and synthesizers (yes, synthesizers).

The ragtag bunch took the stage, to an almost full house, lead by the Dylan-like vocals of Ian Felice (guitar/vocals) and supported by James Felice (accordion/keyboards/part-time vocals), Christmas Clapton (bass/part-time vocals/former diceman), Greg Farley (fiddle/drum machine/part-time drummer) and Dave Turbeville (full-time drums). They've gained a certain notoriety over the past five years, particularly due to a Newport Folk Fest set in which they played acoustically because of a weather induced power outage, but also for getting their start as subway musicians and recording their first three albums in chicken coops — Like I said, scrappy. After a few warm up songs, the recognition was obvious and on lips of the front row Lincoln Hall crowd — most of them repeated lyrics back to the band while dancing in a disorganized manner.

Felice-8.jpg
Felice Brothers (photos by Ryan Bourque)

The set started out in true Dylan fashion, with the workingman song, "Hey Hey Revolver" (Hire me on better grounds /I can't afford no gas/I walk to work on the overpass/My teenage daughter's knocked up). But, unlike Dylan, their story lines don't necessarily follow any particular themes. There was "Let Me Come Home", about a poor boy begging to be welcomed home (the accordion lent the song a Scottish-folk feel), "Run Chicken Run" a foot-stomping jam about a girl in trouble, and "Ponzi" which starts out with a sample and chronicles the financial scandal of a wallstreet type from the viewpoint of his wife (get it, Ponzi!). They also played with some shifty characters — like a seedy women who pops Aderall or a couple of guys who robbed a warehouse and raced around in a shot up Honda Civic.

Felice7.jpg
Felice Brothers (photos by Ryan Bourque)

Departing from financial scandal, The Felice Brothers slipped into dancehalls with "Back in the Dancehalls". The song, somewhat appropriately, intro'd with an electronic drum beat provided by the 808 drum machine, but its tempo evened out to melodic lull mid song, while the lyrics confessed the band's love for comedian Richard Pryor. Before winding the evening down, the other Felice, James, hopped on the mic for the crowd favorite and barroom sing-along, "Whiskey in my Whiskey" — a little inconsistent with the bottle of Patron onstage but who's paying that much attention? And, in "Fire at the Pagent", the group yelled "Fire" in unison at the crowd to background sirens and children shouting. At one point Farley (fiddle) joined Turbeville on the drums and, like a four-armed drummer the two banged out the track together. Finally, calming us all down, Ian cupped the microphone while he crooned out the caring, love song "Lady Day".

The Felice Brother's fourth album, Celebration Florida, released on Fat Possum, is out Tuesday, May 10th. Definitely worth checking out.

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

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