Review: The Wood Brothers w/Lera Lynn 10/31/12 @ The Bishop
Halloween night landed me in Bloomington at The Bishop for a very exciting show, The Wood Brothers. The Wood Brothers contain brothers Chris(stand-up bass and vocals) and Oliver(guitar and vocals)Wood with Jano Rix on the drums. Chris is a founding member of legendary jazz trio, Medeski Martin and Wood. The Wood Brothers bring a more Americana/folk style music, with great lyrics and amazing stand-up bass. The stage was littered with fake spiderwebs and silly Halloween decorations. It was perfect. Lera Lynn opened up, prepping the crowd with amazing vocals and quirky quips to get the crowd smiling. “I Tried To Leave” was by far my favorite by Lera. Her set was well-rounded and left the crowd yearning for more wonderful music. I was admittedly giddy as I patiently waited for The Wood Brothers. When they finally entered the stage it was obvious they were ready to wow the crowd. The trio were sporting fun costumes, in light of the holiday. Oliver leaned towards the mic with a smile, introducing the trio to a very intimate crowd.
They opened with “Sing It Again”, a Beck cover, touting much better vocals than the original. I tingled as Chris and Oliver sang with skill and beauty. Next up was “Up”, a song I’ve never heard, but definitely lifted my spirits to new heights.
“Atlas”, the rock driven Wood Brothers staple followed, getting the crowd moving with its guitar driven riffs. Next, Chris Wood wowed me with his stand-up bass skills during “Mary Anna”. Also, the brothers Wood brought amazing harmony with their skillful lyrics and soulful vocals. Things got interesting during “Twisted”, with Chris plucking the bass hard and the rest of the trio holding the harmony together.
The trio was animated, having fun, and the crowd was right there with them. I was in awe of how amazing Chris and Oliver traded back and forth with their beautiful voices. Next up, “Neon Tombstone”, hailed as a new track, sent the crowd into a frenzy. It contained amazing guitar riffs, great drum work, and an incredible bass line. This was my favorite thus far, and showed the incredible stage presence of The Wood Brothers.
It was fun, musically masterful, and everyone in the crowd was vibrant. These guys know how to play Americana, and they were doing so in great fashion. Things slowed down a bit during “Postcards From Hell” and “Spirit”, but “Honey Jar” got everyone grooving again with an amazing jam. With the crowd intoxicated and euphoric, the title track from their 2008 album “Loaded” snapped everyone back to reality. It is truly magical to see a band play such a wide array of musical harmonies. The Wood Brothers were doing it perfectly. Another title track from an album followed, “Smoke Ring Halo”. Oliver belted out the lyrics to this wonderful song. My idle stance was short-lived as the trio got me moving with “Glad”. This song exhibited raunchy guitar riffs, funky bass plucking, and blues-driven vocals. “Down The Road” beautifully yielded a Van Morrisonesque sound to The Wood Brothers show. “Shoofly Pie” was next on the list and featured three beautiful harmonies serenading the crowd about the female nether region. I chuckled a little, but was mostly in awe of what was transpiring. As the song ended, so did the display of wonderful music. The band left the stage, but quickly returned with special guest, Lera Lynn. All in all, it was a magical evening of great music. I can’t think of a better way to spend such ghoulish evening. The opener was great, but The Wood Brothers were even better.
The Wood Brothers embodied everything I seek in a live show; they were fun, musically perfect, and exhibited a wide spectrum of musical genres.
They did all of this while maintaining their signature sound, showing the versatility of “Americana”. It is safe to say I’ll be seeing these guys again. I highly suggest you do the same.
Words by:Alex Toy
Photos by: Wide Aperture Images