Little Dynamite and I went to go see The Wood Brothers at Southpaw in Brooklyn a couple of weekends ago. The pictures included in this post are from that night. Little Dynamite was charming enough to convince a woman named Regan to e-mail us the pictures that she was taking; she did a very nice job capturing the vibe, and it makes this post that much more authentic.
Southpaw was the perfect venue for us that night, in that they sold beer and we were able to stand right against the stage, putting us about 8 to 10 feet from the Wood Brothers. It's also in Brooklyn, which makes it edgy and cool. The Wood Brothers are, as you might suspect, a couple of brothers who make some pretty good music. Chris Wood plays the stand-up bass with either a slapping hand or a bow. Owen Wood plays guitar and takes the lead on the vocals.
The Wood Brothers play the blues with a down home country twang. Their first album, Ways Not To Lose, is a CD that I have owned for about a year now and it is one of my favorites in my collection. I bought it on the strength of a single track, Atlas, which I heard on the radio and knew that I had to own the album immediately. I was not disappointed. Their music is compelling as blues music at its best can be, and the lyrics sung by Owen Wood are genuine, heartfelt and moving. The CD also features an admirable array of styles and emotion, which makes it much more listenable than I find most albums to be.
Live, these guys sound very much as they do in studio. This is both a testament to their ability to re-create their masterful sound in a concert setting, as well as a nod to the album's informal sound to begin with. It is also a true pleasure to watch Chris work the bass and to see Owen's hands bring the sounds he does from his guitar, mixing in some slide guitar along the way. The two share a chemistry, as brothers should, that allows them to say things like "You ready to do that one? Yeah, let's do that one." That happened. They mixed in a number of new songs which in many cases outshone the older catalogue that I was familiar with. I expect their sophmore studio effort to be phenomenal.
The set list is as follows (captured, as always, by Dynamite's mobile phone):
When I Was Young
Where My Baby Might Be
Postcard from Hell
You never can pay enough
One more day
If there were no stand-outs, it was only because the set was so solid. I can't remember EVER enjoying a concert where the artists play mostly new material as much as I did on 4/20 in Brooklyn. These guys are really talented and their music resonates just right with my tastes. I will note that I believe Little Dynamite's favorite new track was Postcard From Hell, and I can't disagree.
Anyway, get into these guys, and go see them live if you get the chance. I'll attach a couple of tracks to the end to give you a headstart. Dynamite and I had a chance to chat with Chris and Owen after the show and they're very nice guys. They said they're going in to record the new album sometime later this year, so we shouldn't have too long to wait for some new stuff from these brothers.
Atlas (the reason I know about these guys)
Tried and Tempted (really wish they had played this one -- and told them so. they said they just didn't have enough time)