Tag Archives: the Felice Brothers
Conor Oberst – Carnegie Hall – November 21, 2012
Outside Carnegie Hall last Wednesday, scalpers were offering tickets for Bright Eyes the night before Thanksgiving. What the what? Bright Eyes at Carnegie Hall? ’Twas true, as one Conor Oberst headlined a sold-out Stern Auditorium. From musical wunderkind to revered label chief, the 32-year-old’s long career was on full display in the famed hall’s confines. Covering material largely from his band, Bright Eyes, Oberst was dressed to the nines with a Calla lily boutonniere adorning his breast pocket and began his set solo with “The Big Picture.” Crooning the last line of the song from Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground, his vocals reverberated throughout the hall.
Joined by multi-instrumentalist Ben Brodin, Oberst introduced new material early on with “Common Knowledge.” Getting comfortable, he joked that it was great to kick back in a venue that reminded him of shows back in his hometown of Omaha, Neb. Adding more company on the vast stage, Oberst called upon Rachel Cox to accompany him on “Classic Cars,” and long-term Bright Eyes member, Nate Walcott, sneaked onstage unbeknownst to Oberst until Walcott seated himself with trumpet in hand for “Southern State.” The number was thoroughly enhanced with classical keys from the black Steinway, which was one of the most expected instruments at the hallowed venue. Having played “At the Bottom of Everything” in 2004 for the Tibet House Benefit Concert, Oberst revealed it wasn’t his first time performing at Carnegie Hall.
Women play a big part in Oberst’s songwriting canon, which was also the case with “You Are Your Mother’s Child,” a new song. With James Felice on accordion, Oberst continued his female-inspired musings, playing “Ten Women,” a song he described as being careful what you wish for. The oldie “Laura Laurent” was a fan favorite, although its material sadly chronicles Oberst’s struggles with his depression-stricken ex. Not to enshroud the setting with too much emo, he picked up the tempo, dedicating the Monsters of Folk ditty “Map of the World” to fellow Bright Eyes member Mike Mogis, who was absent for the night. Oberst rocked out as his long locks whipped with every guitar strum. Not to leave fans wanting more, his encore included “Lua,” with Cox filling in for Gillian Welch, “Make War,” and the Felice Brothers crew on “Waste of Paint,” leaving no one disappointed as they exited the lush, grand venue. —Sharlene Chiu
Tags: Ben Brodin, Bright Eyes, Conor Oberst, Gillian Welch, James Felice, Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil Keep Your Ear to the Ground, Mike Mogis, Monsters of Folk, Nate Walcott, Rachel Cox, the Felice Brothers
Posted in House List, Reviews No Comments »
The Felice Brothers, originally from the Catskill Mountains region upstate, first got started by playing their dad’s barbecues. Eventually they made their way to Brooklyn and began busking in various New York City subway stations. Since then, their roots-rock sound has taken them to Mountain Jam and even Levon Helm’s barn for one of his Midnight Rambles. But as the group has grown in size and stature, there’s been no shortage of recorded music. In fact, their eighth album, Celebration, Florida, came out earlier this year. And it finds the Felice Brothers (above, playing “Frankie’s Gun” at this year’s SXSW) traveling along some new musical terrain (think: less Basement Tapes and more hip-hop). And you can see them play Webster Hall tomorrow night with Nicole Atkins & the Black Sea and Diamond Doves.
The Felice Brothers, from upstate, in the Catskills, began their musical career playing their dad’s Sunday-afternoon barbecues. Eventually the roots-rock trio moved to Brooklyn and began busking in subway stations. Now the band is a quintet and they put on a hell of a good live show. Want to see them at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Sunday? Then try to Grow a Pair of tickets from The House List. Just fill out the form below, including your name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Felice Brothers, 10/31) and a brief message explaining why going to a concert is the best way to spend Halloween. Eddie Bruiser, a firm believer in mixing live music and costumes, will notify the winner by Friday. Good luck.
There’s something to be said for coloring outside the lines—letting the crayon wander and just plain getting messy. That’s about how the Felice Brothers played it Friday night at Webster Hall. Heck, they didn’t even let a thing like a start time dictate things: The sign on the door read FELICE BROS. AT 9 P.M., but it wasn’t even 8:55 when the music began.
From the get-go it was one jagged, colorful line after another straying beyond the boundaries. There was no defined spot onstage for anyone to stand, no decorum whatsoever. It wasn’t even clear that the instruments were always perfectly in tune. This was music to be played in a nearly empty bar late at night, when no one in the crowd is seeing quite straight and they’re all singing along to every song even if they don’t know the words. Except it was quite early, it was a cavernous dance club in Manhattan and the place was absolutely packed. In a word, it was ragged—wonderfully, intentionally so.
The music had everyone smiling. It was the perfect antidote to a long day, a long week or a long year. Even when the songs slowed, they were up-tempo. And even when they touched on downright depressing themes, they were upbeat. There is an obvious Bob Dylan subtext in there—with the accordion and violin substituting for the harmonica—and the lyricism is filtered through a fifth of brown liquor, but the sound remains distinct and addictive. The set list was split almost evenly with songs off the Felice Brothers’ self-titled debut album and new material from their recent release, Yonder Is the Clock. It was all warm and sharp, like the bite of a shot of bourbon. —A. Stein
The Felice Brothers, originally from the Catskill Mountains region of upstate New York, started out by playing in various New York City subway stations. Since then, their country-rock sound has taken them to Mountain Jam and even Levon Helm’s barn for one of his very cool Midnight Rambles. The band’s second major release, Yonder Is the Clock, came out earlier this month. See them here, performing “Frankie’s Gun,” and then see them tonight at Webster Hall.