Review by Seth Rogovoy
Photography by Sabina Curti
(HUDSON, N.Y.) – The Felice Brothers entertained a crowd primed for fun on the night of St. Patrick’s Day at Club Helsinki Hudson, but that didn’t mean they held back and let the holiday party spirit do their work for them. In fact, they put on the best show I’ve seen them perform, with tight, upbeat versions of their own “greatest hits” mixed in with a variety of Irish music, some traditional, some in the vein of Irish-inflected punk-rock a la the Pogues.
In all, it was a great show, full of energy, dynamism, group interplay and the built-in drama they invest in their own folk-rock compositions. While I’m never sure just what it is they’re singing about, it always sounds to me like someone is in trouble, something is at stake, there’s a crisis brewing or breaking out. That’s a tribute to their songwriting skills, arrangements, and their urgent, earnest delivery.
It also never gets in the way of just having fun, for both the musicians and the audience, and the band kept things moving, trading off lead vocals between four of them and inviting opening act Dawn Landes, a singer-songwriter from Kentucky, to guest with them on a few numbers. While the group’s vibe clearly draws upon the Band perhaps more than any other predecessor, they are truly carving out their own sound and space. One was left thinking after this show that the Felice Brothers just may have enough of the goods – including enough of the anti-charisma charisma that seems so de rigueur these days — to break out in a bigger way, in a bigger fashion.