The New York band known as Woods was back in Chicago last night (Monday) for another fine jam session. After playing last year at the Empty Bottle, Woods and opening act Real Estate nearly filled a bigger venue this time, Lincoln Hall.
As in past Woods performances I’ve seen, vocalist/guitarist Jeremy Earl sang in a creaky falsetto reminiscent of Neil Young or maybe Canned Heat, while letting loose some wonderfully shambling electric guitar solos. Meanwhile, G. Lucas Crane is kneeling as he plays old cassette tapes, twiddling knobs, doing who knows what with the sounds coming out of the tapes, and singing into what looks like a set of headphones. When Woods stretched out its tunes, it rocked in a way that felt spontaneous and unpracticed. Despite sustained applause at the end of the concert, Woods did not come out for an encore.
The middle band on Monday’s bill, Real Estate, has been getting some buzz with its recent self-titled debut. The music’s very unassuming: nicely constructed little guitar pop songs, with just a touch of 1960s chamber pop or psychedelia. It all came across well in concert, although the laid-back Real Estate guys could stand to show a little more energy and enthusiasm.
Chicago trio Netherfriends started out the evening, playing songs from its debut EP. At times, Netherfriends sounded like White Rabbits (when keyboards were the dominant instrument), but more often the band went for an Animal Collective sort of vibe, with heavy rhythms and overlapping musical motifs. If anything, the percussion was a bit too aggressive in this live performance, but this band has some potential.