While a lot of you were getting your EDM fix at the Wheel House Festival Saturday night, I chose a calmer route, opting to head to the Vogue Theatre to see the Wood Brothers. As an older, and dare I say classier, group of concert goers gathered at the Vogue, it was apparent that this was not your typical concert. For starters, the Vogue had chairs set up in front of the stage. This is the first time I have seen this set-up and while I was not a fan, it did fit the music of the evening. I avoided the mostly occupied chairs in favor of standing on one of the steps with a clear view of the stage.
As I entered the venue, Dom La Nena, a Brazilian-born cellist was performing with Piers Faccini, an English song writer. The two shared the stage gracefully, performing together before taking turns playing solo work. Dom La Nena’s haunting vocals blended well with the cello as she sang in Portuguese. She was humble throughout the performance, saying how happy she was to be performing.
After Dom La Nena, it was time for the Wood Brothers. The first time that I saw them was at Summer Camp four years ago. Having no prior knowledge of their music at that time, I was blown away by their sound. Ever since then, I catch them whenever they come around. Back then, the Wood Brothers had only two members- brothers Chris (upright bass) and Oliver (guitar, vocals) Wood. In recent years, they have added Jano Rix to the band, to provide percussion.
Saturday’s concert was an early one, due to the fact that the Vogue was having an after-party for Wheel House and needed the place cleared out beforehand. Chris Wood made light of this as the band came on stage saying, “We’re going to play some music here before this place turns into a disco.”
Watching a Wood Brothers show is not like watching other shows. The stage production is minimalistic and the whole performance feels raw. You are watching three guys play traditional rock n’ roll music with elements of blues and country thrown in.
The Wood Brothers are releasing a new album, “The Muse,” on October 1st and their performance weighed heavily on songs from the upcoming album.
The band mixed in a few crowd favorites including, “Atlas,” from their first album, Ways not to Lose.
About two thirds of the way through their set, reinforcing the traditional rock n’ roll aspect, the band asked the crowd to, “Shhh,” as they took out Big Mic, a single microphone. If you have ever seen old videos of Bob Dylan performing his solo work from the 1960’s, the microphone looked like that. Aside from a few drunken shouts, the crowd at the Vogue fell silent as the band gathered tightly around Big Mic and played, “Firewater,” from their new album, unplugged. It was amazing to hear how good the band sounded playing through the sole microphone.
The band restored energy into the crowd when they launched into, “One More Day.” The song featured a prominent drum solo which saw Chris Wood dancing like a mad man all over the stage. I had yet to see this at a Wood Brothers show and it was impossible to not convulse with laughter.
Concluding the show was a cover of Missippi John Hurt’s, “Make me a Pallet on your Floor,” a classic blues song.
After they left the stage, the crowd starting screaming and stomping, demanding an encore. The Wood Brothers returned to the stage to play, “The Luckiest Man.” Oliver’s vocals really shine on this song and the crowd sang along for the duration. It was hard to leave not feeling lucky after such a soulful performance.
To get a feel for how the Wood Brothers sound, check out this full session via Liveset below.