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Woods Take Rough Trade NYC on a Musical Excursion

June 17th, 2015

Woods – Rough Trade NYC – June 16, 2015

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It was just another mind-bending, sensory-delight Tuesday night at Rough Trade NYC. Quilt got things going with an excellent set centered around new material from their upcoming album. The Boston quartet operated comfortably in that place where Rubber Soul flips over to Revolver, with two-, three- and four-part harmonies infusing a full complement of psychedelic guitar, bass and drums. By the time their set finished, the room was filled and in the proper headspace for the headliners, Woods.

The woods are a great place to hide, so many good spots to disappear and from which to reappear. During their superlative set last night, hometown band Woods showed they had plenty hiding within: at various points there was a folkie singer-songwriter, a full-fledged rock band, an earnest indie and a powerhouse jam band lurking onstage. They opened with a pair of more song-oriented pieces—“Leaves Like Grass” and “Cali in a Cup”—singer Jeremy Earl giving all indie-folk stars a run for their money with his wind-in-the-trees voice and evocative lyricism. A new sound popped out of its hiding spot during “Pushing Onlys” leading to the first of many extended jams. This one featured nebulous, Technicolor zaps of guitar fired across the stage and out into the sold-out crowd.

With eye-melting lights from Drippy Eye Projections it was impossible to decouple the music from the colorful liquid projections. Woods’ jams seemed to trace the curvature of the emulsions, spiraling and bubbling with a hallucinogenic rainbow. These musical excursions took on many flavors: from the milk-in-coffee slow-curling vortices of guitar and organ around bass to the being-chased-down-by-a-cougar gnashing two-guitar rock-out to the full-band space exploration. The set closed with two ragers from last year’s With Light and with Love. “Moving to the Left” embodied everything Woods in just one song, fantastic composition, with a great Jerry Garcia–melodic hook and spasms of groovy rock and stoner psych. The album’s title track closed the set with a multitiered guitar jam equal parts in your face and in your brain. A sweet two-song encore finished the night before Woods sank back into their hiding place until next time. —A. Stein | @Neddyo