[photo courtesy of P Squared Photography]
At one point during this Woods show at Music Hall of Williamsburg, keyboard/sax player Kyle Forester remarked that North 6th Street in Brooklyn was like the “Broadway of shows.” Coming from the longtime New York musician, it was a statement both ironic and, weirdly, kind of true. It’s old news that what was once the epicenter of DIY has long-since ceded to luxury boutiques and corporate outposts, and, of course, Woods have been in the rotation at the city’s fancier clubs for some time now — we’ve covered them at Bowery Ballroom as far back as 2009, Music Hall as early as 2010. But there’s a message in there somewhere about the trajectory of this band versus their surroundings. Woods have never exactly been an overtly “anti-corporate” band — they simply haven’t played that game. Yet, to call them a “DIY” band understates the professionalism of what Jeremy Earl, as bandleader, has accomplished. If you compare the band that took the stage this Saturday to the one we saw at, say, Market Hotel in 2009, or now-defunct Monster Island in 2011, there is a “next level” that this band, and Earl’s vision, have reached without any of the negative trappings that tend to come with it. What you saw this past Saturday was a now-six-piece (seven when Cole Karmen-Green jumps in on trumpet) full-on spectacle of a rock band, creating some of the most musically complex work of their career.
The band was back in town after touring their latest and ninth album, City Sun Eater In the River of Light, and as tends to be the case with homecoming shows, they came ready to bring their best. The new material, with its sax, trumpets and Afro-Cuban style percussion, takes full advantage of the expanded band, with Aaron Neveu on main drums and John Andrews running a second kit and additional percussion. While this show reflected the new record’s relatively downshifted tempo and accessible, focused songwriting, Woods continued their tradition of adding new “jam songs” to the mix. In this case, that’d be “The Take,” which merge a 1970s Lauren Canyon vibe to the band’s trademark psychedelic sound. Likewise, “With Light and With Love,” from the band’s last album, continued its role as the band’s other longform offering, with a classic guitar freakout that gave Earl and Jarvis Taveniere the chance to fully stretch their wings. Not that the longtime fans weren’t taken care of by this set, either — among the band’s earlier tunes, the combo of “Suffering Season” and “Cali In A Cup” was there for the early decade stalwarts.
The band closed on the oldest number of the night, their cover of Graham Nash’s “Military Madness” from 2009’s Songs of Shame. We first recorded the band playing that song at that Market Hotel show in 2009, as ramshackle of an affair as this evening at Music Hall wasn’t. Since that time, that DIY club has closed and been reborn as a (mostly) grown-up venue, and Woods have produced an embarrassment of musical riches. In the end it isn’t the spaces in cities that matter, but what inhabits them. We continue to be grateful that Woods visits so many of ours.
I recorded this set from our usual spot in the venue, together with a direct feed of Kevin Mazzarelli’s flawless mix. The sound quality is outstanding. Enjoy!
Download and stream the complete show from our bandcamp page.
Music Hall of Williamsburg
Brooklyn, NY USA
Exclusive download hosted at nyctaper.com
Recorded and produced by acidjack
Soundboard (engineer: Kevin Mazzarelli) + Schoeps MK41V (at SBD, DFC, PAS)>KC5>CMC6>Aeta PSP3>>Zoom F8>2x24bit/48kHz WAV>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (align, mix down, light compression, fades)>Izotope Ozone 5 (EQ, effects, imaging)>Audacity 2.0.3 (track, amplify, balance, downsample, dither)>FLAC ( level 8 )
Tracks [Total Time 1:16:57]
01 Morning Light
02 Politics of Free
03 Leaves Like Glass>
04 Hollow Home
05 Sun City Creeps
06 The Take
09 Suffering Season>
10 Cali In A Cup
12 Creature Comfort
13 With Light and With Love
14 [encore break]
15 Moving to the Left
16 Military Madness [Graham Nash]
Jeremy Earl – vox / guitar
Jarvis Taveniere- guitar
Aaron Neveu – drums
Chuck Van Dyck- bass
Kyle Forester – keys / sax
John Andrews- percussion/ drums
Cole Karmen-Green – trumpet