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Scene Around Town: The Felice Brothers at Syracuse’s Westcott Theater by laoppedi
The Felice Brothers Westcott Theater

Ian Felice led a rowdy Felice Brothers set at the Westcott Theater on Friday

They didn’t know how to dance, but they did it anyway.

Upstate five-piece The Felice Brothers brought their rowdy, rugged brand of Americana rock to The Westcott Theater Friday night, delivering drawled anthems and raging jam sessions to a crowd of guys in flannel shirts and girls in dresses and hiking boots. If the lead singer felt like moving his microphone back to stand next to the keyboard player for a few moments, then he did. And if the fiddle player didn’t like kneeling over in his corner during a certain song, he would just walk over to the drum set, jump onto the bass drum and dance.

Everything they did onstage, they did it for the simple reason of enjoying themselves and putting on a show that everyone else could enjoy. And isn’t that the best kind of live music?

Rugged and yet somehow polished, The Felice Brothers have that “we don’t give a fuck if this is aesthetically pleasing” sound that gives them a certain edge not all bands of their style can pull off. During their more mellow songs they appeared to be in a trance, completely engaged in bringing their music to life. Then in a second they could transition to a song that felt like a raging jam session with a couple hundred people cheering them on.

And no matter what they did, it felt genuine. They would accept shouted requests from drunken members of the audience, run around stage singing into each others microphones, take turns singing lead on the different songs, and even hold out the microphone to allow the audience members to sing along to the particularly raucous chorus of “I put some whiskey, into my whiskey.” And the whole time, they were having a blast. This is a band that knows how to have fun, that has not yet reached the point where they are making music for any reason other than simply making music.

Getting ready to walk out of the show, I felt like I was going to find myself standing on a wooden porch in the middle of the Appalachian mountains.  That was the thing about this band: whatever they did felt sincere and totally authentic. Towards the beginning of one of the songs, frontman Ian Felice drawled “I’m not preaching, I’m just talking…this is how I talk.”

Well then Felice Brothers, it was good talking with you. Let’s do it again sometime.

– Emmery Brakke
– Photos by Isabel Alcantara [MORE UNDER THE JUMP!]



One of the most amazing shows I’ve been to. So energetic, it was incredible.

Comment by krkuchta

I know nearly every word to their record and love it, but their live show really delivers an entirely new energy to their songs. They clearly enjoyed playing while simultaneously smoking cigarettes handed to them by audience members and swigging either audience produced shots or their own bottle of rum in the middle of songs, which just added a great dynamic. I’ve seen plenty of bands, but they put on one of the best live shows I have ever seen!

Comment by Lucas Sacks

This was the 10th time I’ve seen the Felice Brothers live, and it may have been my last.
Nothing they did was genuine this time. Getting piss drunk and not even being able to play their songs is not my idea of a good, fun show. Every time I’ve seen them, they seem to have a certain chemistry on stage and they seem to love playing their music. This show felt like they didn’t even give a shit about performing a good set. Ian barely played his guitar to the fast songs like Run Chicken Run and Take This Bread and when he did, it was terrible. He was so drunk, it was pathetic. He made a fool of himself and the band. I was honestly depressed during the whole show, and it was forcing me to just hate everything about it. It’s such a shame to see such a great band and such great songs go to waste. I hope they were having an off night, but I will never go out of my way to see them again. I’m sticking to the local Catskill shows because that’s where their hearts are, and that’s where their only good shows are. This show just disappointed me.

Comment by Alicia

[…] The Felice Brothers [see photos from last night's show] title: Greatest Show on Earth album: The Felice […]

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