The Felice Brothers at Webster Hall

When someone offered me a pair of tickets to a show at Webster Hall at the last minute last Thursday, I seized the opportunity to catch some live music. There were two opening bands — the Diamond Doves followed by Nicole Atkins and The Black Sea — but everyone was really there to see the main act, The Felice Brothers (evidenced by the fact that the venue did not fill up until right before the last band went on).

Ever since The Felice Brothers released their latest album, Celebration, Florida, I’ve heard grumblings from several fans about the band’s new musical direction. However, I feel that the boys have finally hit a confident stride and the band’s new music and sound is simply an extension of the old. They’re incorporating new ideas and techniques into their playing, and The Felice Brothers keep improving and building upon the body of work and style they’ve already established. They played many of their new hits at Webster Hall, like “Ponzi,” “Back in the Dancehalls,” “Honda Civic,” and “River Jordan,” but also fed the crowd some old favorites like “Whiskey in my Whiskey,”  “Frankie’s Gun,” and the stunning “St. Stephen’s End.”

The crowd got really into the show, complete with a few attempts (and subsequent failures) to start a mosh pit, jumping and screaming, and even a crowd surfer or two. The band was riled up, too: Christmas climbed amps and the drum set (and during one song attempted to climb an amp but fell down); Ian spun, kicked and jumped; James was a big presence with his accordion as usual; Farley ran manically around the stage and at one point started pounding the drums next to Dave so forcefully that Dave laughed and cringed a little; and when the band finished playing Dave fell sideways off his drum stool before all of the musicians stumbled off the stage. The Felice Brothers’ shows are always a bit wild but the Webster Hall show was especially so, and at the end of the concert I was both happy and a bit bewildered, wondering to myself, “What just happened?” Despite all the madness, however — which could have affected the band’s performance if the musicians were completely out of control, which they were not — The Felice Brothers had great energy on-stage, fell into an easy rhythm, and delivered a solid show.



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