The Felice Brothers’ journey from the Catskills to the Rockies
By Summer Olsson
Listening to the earthy, earnest songs of The Felice Brothers, it’s easy to hear the band’s roots and the influence of its journey. Palenville, N.Y., is a hamlet of about 1,400 residents, nestled at the base of the Catskill Mountains near the Kaaterskill Falls. The fictional character Rip Van Winkle was supposed to have hailed from the town. It was there that brothers Ian, James and Simone Felice, the poor sons of a carpenter, grew up and began playing music. The brothers often held neighborhood jam sessions and played regularly during family backyard barbecues.
You may remember a sweaty-palmed week in middle school when you were forced to square dance by an overbearing gym teacher. And you may shudder at the thought of repeating the event. Although contra dance has similarities to square dancing, there’s no need to be wary. People of all ages have discovered that contra dancing is fun. It might be time to heal the wounds and check it out. “The dance is having a renaissance around the country,” reports NPR, “thanks to a thriving youth scene.” The latest trend is dancing contra to hip-hop or techno, dubbed “crossover contra” or “contra-fusion.” Although it might be happening all around them, many people may have never heard of the style. Contra dance is a form in which people begin in two long lines, facing one another, and are led through a series of steps by a caller. Dancers cycle through moves with the person opposite and those on either side, ending up dancing with several different partners.
New series at The Center for Grooviness welcomes creative music and arts
By Mel Minter
Trombonist Christian Pincock, curator of the new series at The Center for Grooviness, and his partner, Deian McBryde, are dedicated to helping people get in the groove—one way or the other. Their Central Avenue space hosts both the self-explanatory Nob Hill Yoga Center and The Center for Grooviness, which is dedicated to presenting unconventional music and arts. Both enterprises invite you to come in, kick off your shoes, lie down (not compulsory) and give yourself up to the moment at hand.
On the 40th anniversary of his death, SuperGiant, The Ground Beneath, Sandia Man and Dead On Point Five will worship in the acid rock temple of guitar god and distortion pioneer Jimi Hendrix. The holy services take place at the Launchpad (618 Central SW) on Saturday, Sept. 18, beginning at 9 p.m. Pay your respects, rock, roll, tune in, turn on and drop out for a $5 cover charge. Hand-painted, infinite afro art by Kyle Erickson—SuperGiant bassist. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
Crystal Castles • electropunk, synth pop, witch house
By August March
Remember the thing called Witch House? How about darkwave? The constant bifurcation of artistic paths in the field of electronic music can be damnably confusing and irritating, as well as rewarding and helluva lot of fun too—as long as you pick the right band. When adherents of these sorts of genres aren't busy sorting their rainbow-colored toe socks and looking for tubes of Vick's Vaporub to snatch up at the local Walmart, then it's a pretty fair bet that they are listening to the likes of Crystal Castles, a duo of Canuck electro-arhats who've made their mark in the music world with a febrile and spooky glitchiness that has outlasted any names critics might apply in favor of an honestly, intimidatingly pure exploration of sounds that make humans dance and rejoice as they swirl around the very noisy and icy maelstrom of life and death. Ethan Kath and Edith Frances, AKA Crystal Castles, perform live in Burque on Thursday, Oct. 19. Viewed as an opportunity to joyfully and ferociously embrace the void, this ought to be a damn good show, but don't blame me if you can't remember your name afterwards.
Here's a brief on a band with three names, but unlike Eliot's bunch, these dudes are not a coterie of cats. At home across the pond, they're known as the Beat. In the land down under, kindly refer to them as the British Beat. Here in 'Merica, we call them the English Beat. But no matter what you call them, this estimable ensemble that still includes founder and guitarist Dave Wakeling—but not vocalist Ranking Roger—was partially responsible for the upsurge in popularity that two-tone ska saw on both sides of the Atlantic during the '80s and '90s. With a retinue of classic, upbeat jams like “Monkey Murders,” “Spar Wid Me” and “Save It for Later,” the band's touring the states again, impressing OG ska lovers as well as the next generation of horn-crazy youth with their combination of crazy stage antics and terrific tuneage. You can catch the outfit live here at the Duke City on Sunday, Oct. 22, at the Historic El Rey Theatre, but don't worry you don't need checkerboard pants or a smart little hat to enjoy this gig—just make sure those great big feet of yours are rested and ready to dance.