Review by Heather Judge / Pics by Katie Foulkes
Upon arriving at The Glee Club in Birmingham, to review New Yorker Simone Felice for the Birmingham Review, I find myself in the venue’s smaller ‘Studio Room’. Observing the close quarter fan base I come to a conclusion: Red Wine Drinkers. And from the little I know about Simone Felice, I was expecting more bourbon & rye.
Simone navigates his way onto the makeshift stage and acknowledges his crowd of 80. Face hidden by an on trend Trilby hat, he delves into his first track of the night, Dawn Brady’s Son, and flows smoothly into the second and third songs.
The next track is in honour of Simone’s daughter, Pearl, who was born as he recovered from open heart surgery – an emergency procedure that very nearly killed him. It starts off slow and full of emotion, ending in an uplifting and positive beat; a stunning tribute to his 3 year old progeny.
Even though Felice is a born and bred New York Native, his music has a Southern, Country tone that is filled with anguish and passion. And it is parallel with a melancholy and musical character that fits him so well.
Simone Felice carries a rawness, an exposed passion; one that whilst proving his musical poetry, also makes him look as though he was in agony. Sometimes it pained me to watch.
And while this 34 year old reminds me deeply off Bob Dylan, this thought didn’t fully strike until Molly D is played. With the same hidden drug abuse context as Mr. Tambourine Man, Felice’s song held some tale of this New Yorker’s tragic youth.
Eventually Felice talks with his crowd, and it turns out he is flirty and comical enough to entertain tonight’s intimate and mature group, but not to offend. His Folk Country style reflects a life which may not be immediate to the room, but one which they relate to with no implications.
The Glee’s audience listen to Felice intently, and to Felice’s songs with reflection evident in their faces; as though they too suffered alongside him.
Personally, I fell in love with Simone Felice and his theatrical show. And overall, Felice gave Birmingham a personal and insightful performance, regaling his stories through both the power of music and the written word.
For more on Simone Felice, visit http://www.simonefelice.com/
For further gigs at The Glee Club (B’ham), including the venue’s comedy programme, visit http://www.glee.co.uk/GleeClubBirmingham