Monday, April 12, 2010

Concert Review: Woods w/ Real Estate at Rock and Roll Hotel

Woods (and Real Estate) @ Rock n Roll Hotel
March 27, 2010
Music Director's Note: REAL ESTATE is playing on campus, in Bulldog Alley, THIS SATURDAY NIGHT now that they're done touring with Woods, and we are selling tickets all week in Red Square for only $3! Make sure you pick one up because this is a show you won't want to miss.

Woods is one of the few shows that remind you, Oh, so that’s what a concert is supposed to be like.  Don’t get me wrong, I still love disappearing into the earthy drones of Woods within my headphones, but if you haven’t seen them live, you still have half your heart to give.  Woods’ sound achieves a distinct texture, like toes digging into damp moss and crackling campfires and haunted houses…you can see how they’re losing themselves in the music and can’t help but feed off of that energy.
On March 27th, Woods and Real Estate came together at the Rock ‘n Roll Hotel for the last show of their tour.  One of the greatest parts was the visible camaraderie they had; it was clearly a parting of sweet sorrow (also, I’m a sucker for bands who become buddies on tour, so damn cute).  I love both these bands individually, but note to disrespectful audience members: Woods was the headliner, and not without reason.   A little background: Woods is a psychedelic folk rock band from Brooklyn (Buschwick, not Williamsburg!) and a seasoned veteran of the lo-fi scene with five full albums since 2005.  In fact, their singer/guitarist Jeremy Earl founded the queen of all lo-fi labels, Woodsist.  So if you haven’t heard of them, it’s about time to give them a chance. (cont'd after the jump)
What makes a Woods show so unique is that it’s less about their songs than the free form extended jams that they descend into between recognizable pieces of songs.  They played my personal favorites from their recent album Songs of Shame—“Rain On” and “Down this Road” (Side note: Woods likes to play their newer stuff—the last time I saw them they refused to play the catchy At Rear House, something about moving on from their past).  But truly, you don’t miss any songs because their pure, unadulterated jam sessions define what authentic music making should be.  Jeremy Earl’s falsetto voice achieves the distance of an old radio recording with a microphone that looks like it teleported from the 1940s.  All the members rock back and forth to the beat, including the tape-player G. Lucas Crane who’s lurching on the ground, shrieking into his headphone-microphones; at one point, he even plays a trumpet into them.  Woods dances the line between insatiably catchy harmonies and more offbeat freak folk ambiance.  Their newest EP, I Was Gone, is a great example of their more experimental side, capturing their free form style and haunting vocal harmonies.
The perfectly joyous ending to a supremely joyous show was the encore, when both Woods and Real Estate got together to play a cover of Blind Melon’s “No Rain” (you know it—All I can say is my life is pretty plain, I like watchin’ the puddles gather rain).  All of them on stage was a spectacular love fest, culminating in Real Estate drummer Etienne Duguay’s decision to crowd surf (didn’t exactly fit the atmosphere, but it worked well enough).  All in all, it was a show fit for smiles, the kind of authentic for-the-music fun that’s not always easy to come by.  

-- Gina Bull
"Under the Influence"- Fridays, 10am-12 on WGTB

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