By the time they are seconds into their second song, it is clear the Felice Brothers are determined to throw everything at this show. They start the night with the mellow 'Butch Cassidy' and lead brother Ian Felice's plaintive and gritty voice drifting over the band's instrumentation. But this is immediately followed with the stomping tale of small town revenge, 'Whiskey in My Whiskey', where James Felice – still the only man who has ever made an accordion look good – incites the crowd to singing. Actually his encouragement is deeply unnecessarily, as the crowd has come as prepared for a big night out as the band.

This sets the pattern for the night. Crowd-pleasing old favourites such a 'Frankie's Gun' incite the crowd in howling along with the chorus and alternate with songs off the recent 'God Bless You Amigo'. Newer songs such as the boxing ode, 'Cus's Catskill Gym', are equally well integrated, as the band hone their old country ways to a harder musical edge, chucking a cover or two along the way.

A stunning solo version of the religious lament 'Mating of the Doves' from Ian Felice highlights just what a spectacular individual performer he can be. Although hopefully the chances of him leaving the band as his sibling Simone Felice did are limited. For the Felice Brothers seem to be having a ball tonight, changing up vocal duties, instruments and direction in an apparently chaotic but nevertheless hugely effective fashion.

Their last 'proper' album – 'Celebration Florida', if one counts out the informal, online-only release 'God Bless You Amigo' – saw the band transitioning, throwing in more production, more rock elements, and even a bit of a dance beat. Tonight's show finds a group that has settled down, a band evolved from a gritty x-rated version of the Carter Family, who produced sing along tales of disreputable living and loving, into something more complex: a genuine contender for the all American everyman band of choice.


The first that accompanies this article was taken by Anni Timms. The remaining photos were taken by Aline Giordano at www.alinegiordano.net.











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