LIVE REVIEW: Woods. McHugh’s Basement Bar, Belfast.

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By Joseph Gilson

Woods cannot be pigeonholed into the folk bracket that they often are. The Brooklyn based band cover many areas from Pyschedelia, to what can only be described as haunting campfire songs. Finding a word to encompass them seems pointless. On September 24th, the McHugh’s crowd are treated to the full range of atmospheric delights in the Basement Bar.

Three things make Woods’ live show so compelling. First is lead singer Jeremy Earl’s extraordinary falsetto voice. It makes the bands musically weaker songs shine like sun rays through dark clouds whilst it propels their best to moments of pure joy. Second we have Jarvis Taveniere’s bass lines. As Earl strums simple but heady chords on his acoustic guitar, Taveniere locks in some brilliant fretwork. These often funky bass lines add a layer of juxtaposition to Earl’s haunting melodies. It could be jarring but works in fine tune.

The third is that aforementioned variety which makes their show always unexpected. Earl makes the switch from acoustic to electric guitar and the band go on a ten minute psychedelic wig out, which crescendos with blaring walls of noise and crashing drums. This is directly followed by their sweetest song of the night, “Rain On”, soothing the nervous itch of the previous song.

Woods have managed to stay fairly underground despite their impressive back catalogue. Their thoughtful, genre-roaming music can leave some wary. It’s fitting then that the underground setting of McHugh’s Basement is housing this intimate display of song craft. At times tonight they lose momentum, but they are always surprising. They return for a crowd-induced encore, it’s a victory lap.

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