Folky, fun, funky, accordion – just a few words to sum up my experience last Thursday when The Felice Brothers came to the Westcott Theater. I’ll be straight with you, I had never heard of them before last Thursday. Two friends of mine invited me, one of whom has seen The Felice Brothers in concert seven times. I did a quick YouTube search but was not too excited. It sounded a bit too country, mud-stomping for me but I thought, “What have I got to lose?”
The grungy yet lovable Westcott Theater was nearly filled and with all kinds of audience members – young college and grad students, old folks, parents with their babies, and even some preteen girls (standing behind me looking slightly confused). The five members of the Felice Brothers strolled out on stage looking like regular ol’ American country kids and I braced myself for a concert of down-home music that usually makes me cringe.
But my frivolous, shallow judgements were blown away and I loved it! I was unabashedly stomping my feet, dancing around, and clapping my hands having a great time. They sounded way less twangy than what I found on the Internet. Their songs were about the classics – alcohol, guns, and love sung by Ian Felice sounding almost like a young Dylan. The best way I can describe their music is unhinged folk music – it rides the folksy American sound but honestly, how many folk bands do you know use an accordion, synth, multiple tempos, and keyboard all in one song? The fiddler amused me the most. Dressed in worn out jeans, muddy boots and a plain dark blue sweater, he would provide synth drum beats and then break it down on the fiddle. At one point he ran over to the drum set and beat on the floor tom like a maniac, arms and sweaty hair flailing everywhere while his goofy facial expressions mask his crazy body movements.
One of my favorites was “Whiskey in My Whiskey” (despite being one of the few sober people there) and could not help singing along. In the song “Run Chicken Run” there was a solo battle between the fiddler and the accordionist, which was pretty badass. You can check this out on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvxZQ74kais
The concert finished off with an enthusiastic encore and I left the Westcott feeling rowdy and energized. I now see why my friend has seen The Felice Brothers eight times- their music is not the typical folksy music you expect and above all, they’re just a good time.