Last Thursday, The Felice Brothers took the stage at Brooklyn's Red Hook Park to kick off this year’s Summerstage. (See my conversation with James Felice here.) Under the shadow of the Port Authority Grain Terminal, they showed off their unique sound to a crowd of devoted fans, onlookers and some local residents who were excited for a free show. The only thing that didn’t deliver was the weather, as apparently mother nature did not get the memo that summer is officially here.
Their set featured some fan favorites including “Whiskey In My Whiskey,” a hard stomping ode to the simple solution to heartbreak and pain. “Meadow of a Dream” showed off their simple and powerful lyrics with a connection to classic Americana stories. But the Felice Brothers are far from just a traditional folk rock band. Their writing has a simple elegance, with a sharp cut at truth.
Vocalist Ian Felice is a throwback to the classic frontmen of true rock and roll: captivating, mysterious, and tragic. With roots in rock and roll and a willingness to try anything, The Felice Brothers used a variety of instruments to create their unique musical aesthetic: fiddle player Greg Farly took a step back in time to double on washboard, then almost seamlessly switched to synthesizer pad.
In the past, the Felice Brothers have called Brooklyn a second home, and this evening certainly felt like a homecoming. The band, who famously cut their teeth as subway performers, quipped about their transition from bar band to Summerstage. “Last time we were in Red Hook, we played a gig at the Bait and Tackle bar!”