A Band Makes It Rain

March 15th, 2010

Woods – Music Hall of Williamsburg – March 12, 2010

How often do you stop to think about bands like Woods and Real Estate being from our backyard, here in Brooklyn? They’re waking up late, buying coffee at the corner deli, doing their laundry and playing the Music Hall of Williamsburg at night. It goes far beyond the slightly-cheaper-than-Manhattan rents: The sheer amount of talent in one place attracts a huge number of musicians who struggle to be half as successful as Woods. And this press-shy band doesn’t just play great music. No, lead singer Jeremy Earl is expanding discographies with his own Woodsist label, home to Blank Dogs, Kurt Vile and Wavves.

With that same community-cooperative feel, Woods kicked off the first show of their “No Rain” Tour alongside Real Estate. (And when you tempt fate with a name like that, it should be no surprise that the precipitation came with such force.) Earl, singing in the highest registers of Neil Young or Jimmy Scott, strummed sensitive indie country on a well-worn acoustic. G. Lucas Crane—singing into an old pair of reverse-polarity headphones—twisted knobs on the tape players laid out in front of him and added an old tin-can telephone layer of harmony to Earl’s already impossibly high falsetto.

The end result was an eerie, distant Siren’s cry that didn’t sound like it could come from just the guys onstage. Their songs open up, and given this room to roam, Woods let the freedom of their live performance take over. The familiar structures were recognizable, like in “Rain On,” but as a bottle of Maker’s Mark was passed around, the songs expanded into psychedelic proportions. And then Real Estate returned to join Woods for an all-out jam party on a staple of ’90s nostalgia, Blind Melon’s “No Rain,” which is when I realized the tour had nothing at all to do with the weather. —Jason Dean