The members of The Felice Brothers know how to make a madly spirited, ramshackle racket onstage, but when the group took SXSW's Auditorium Shores stage in Austin, Texas — between the crowd-pleasing Middle Brother and widely worshipped headliner Bright Eyes — it was unafraid to access a more subdued side. As the sun began to sink over the dust clouds, Felice Brothers sustained some long, slow, accordion-and-fiddle-fueled brooding for a good bit of its set.
But Felice Brothers' mix of rock, country and folk has a freewheeling energy at its core: It accesses the spirit of Bruce Springsteen as frequently as it wallows in thoughtful, Bob Dylan-esque folk. So, for as slow as this show gets — a reflection of the creatively ambitious Celebration, Florida, due out in May — it's still no surprise when Felice Brothers' members toss in gritty, gutty songs like "Whiskey in My Whiskey" and "Little Ann." In this particular concert, the group tends to favor atmosphere over explosion, but the tension persists.
Band Personnel: Ian Felice - Lead Vocals, Guitar, Piano; James Felice - Vocals, Accordion, Organ, Piano; Christmas Clapton - Bass; Greg Farley - Fiddle; David Turbeville - Drums; Nate Walcott - Trumpet