Simone Felice - The Louisiana, Bristol
There are times when you read interviews with artists and listen to their music that a picture forms in the mind. Simone Felice’s intimate folk-rock builds a portrait of a man that is introverted, private. Then you read about his life in the Catskill Mountains, his health problems, his young family, everything seems to confirm what his music seeks to portray. His recent album, Strangers, is a continuation in his growth as an artist, and further reinforces that image of the New York native. A contrast of feelings, from happy highs to intimate lows.
Felice’s live show mirrors that set of emotions. Starting off sitting behind his drum kit - the only misstep of the night is the drumming, due to the acoustics of the small room it sounds tinny and terrible - he proceeds to take you through that roller-coaster. From the opening rush of ‘Molly-O’, through anti-gun anthem ‘Lady Of The Gun’ (“It’s about my country's love affair with the trigger”), onto the contemplative ‘Dawn Brady’s Son’. It’s a proper career-spanning set, that pulls out ‘You & I Belong’ and ‘New York Times’ to the delight of the - pleasingly - mixed age audience. Felice even delves into his Duke & King songbook for ‘If You Ever Get Famous’ and ‘Summer Morning Rain’. The highlights are his performance of ‘Charade’: vocally restrained and tender but with emotion etched across his face, and ‘Running Through My Head’ which ends with a gospel-y audience singalong.
Looser, and pottier of mouth than you might imagine (Felice appears to enjoy himself on stage more than your preconceptions may have bargained for) but this is still an artist with a rare capacity to capture both the good and the bad times that make up this crazy trip called life.