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Milford Beacon
  • The Felice Brothers to 'bless' Delaware with second show this year

  • The Felice Brothers rocked the Firefly Music Festival in Dover during the summer. This time, the band will shake up northern Delaware on Friday.
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  • Forget Halloween, the First State will celebrate Christmas in October this Friday.
    That's Christmas Clapton (bass), James Felice (accordion) and the rest of The Felice Brothers. The band – which hails from New York's Catskills – will headline at the Arden Gild Hall in Arden. Philadelphia's Toy Soldiers will open the show. It will be The Felice Brothers' second concert in Delaware this year; the first being in front of thousands of frenzied fans at the Firefly Music Festival in Dover this summer.
    But this time around, things should be a little less chaotic.
    "Our experience [at Firefly] was in-and-out, pretty quick," James recalled of the band's experience at Firefly. "We had a show the day before and we had another show the day after. We kind of got there… a little late. We went on and then we had to leave an hour after we got done playing…I only got the briefest experience, which is pretty disappointing."
    But there was a bright side.
    "I did get to see Charles Bradley perform. I got to see the last half of his set and he's just… phenomenal. That was a real highlight," beamed James. "It was a rainy day, a kind of crappy rainy day. But when he performed the sun broke out for a few minutes and man, it was one of the best shows I've seen."
    Looking to bring some sunshine to their fans in Arden, James painted a rough sketch of what the band might do for Friday's show.
    "We've been doing a lot more acoustic-y stuff lately, having fun with that — so that might make an appearance," said the 27-year-old. "Christmas has been playing the banjo some, that's kind of exciting. We might incorporate that."
    Typically, The Felice Brothers don't decide on a setlist until the day of a show, and Friday will be no exception.
    "We usually try not to plan for the show until we get there," he said. "We don't really have anything planned out, but we probably have 40 or so songs that we could play at any given time."
    Out of the Brothers' deep catalog of tunes, James says "Container Ship," off the band's latest album "Celebration, Florida," released in 2011, is his favorite.
    "I always love that song," James said. "It's a weird song and a lot of people don't get it or don't like it. But I really like that song a lot."
    Most listeners are confused by the simplicity of the song; it's a straightforward tune that James' brother, Ian (the frontman), wrote about cargo ships.
    Page 2 of 2 - Are the container ships filled with dead bodies or illegal contraband? Nope.
    The song is literally just about Ian observing floating containers.
    "He was watching, looking at a dock in the city of New York City and watching these container ships coming in and out — these massive vessels of thousands and thousands of containers and tons of wares. I think he was just really profoundly affected by it," James said.
    "Celebration, Florida" has been a bit of a peculiar record to some of the band's fans, since the project has incorporated more electronic elements (like a drum machine and synthesizers) than in its previous projects, which were more acoustic-driven. "Celebration, Florida" also featured more challenging compositions.
    "I think it was the desire to have different tools to work with, because acoustic instruments are limited in certain ways — I mean a lot of ways," James explained.
    He then mentioned how acoustic guitars are "not as versatile as a computer or synthesizer. Using a computer and synthesizers can give you a broader range of [music] that you can express yourself with."
    For "Celebration, Florida," the Brothers recorded the project at an abandoned school in Beacon, N.Y., a space in which classrooms are rented to artists to use for things like recording music, painting and such.
    During the spring the band released "God Bless You, Amigo." The acoustic project was self-released and features traditional folk tunes and original tunes. "God Bless You, Amigo," is a digital-only release that's designed for the band to raise cash for a new touring vehicle after their Winnebago was damaged by a hurricane.
    IF YOU GO
    WHAT The Felice Brothers and Toy Soldiers in concert
    WHEN 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 19
    WHERE Arden Gild Hall, 2126 The Highway, Arden
    COST $23 members/$28 guests
    INFO ardenclub.org or 475-3126

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