Hot on the heels of the release of their new critically-acclaimed and fan-approved new album, City Sun Eater in the River of Light, Brooklyn-based Woods opened their tour in Ithaca at the Haunt. The quintet peppered their set with the newly minted tunes, all of which were being played for the first time.
The album pushes the band’s sound deeper into psychedelic grooves, heavily influenced by Ethiopian jazz. There was a fairly clear distinction between the new songs and the older material based on the advancement of their sound. Despite being opened fresh out of the box, they were masterfully tight and sounding like well-worn classics.
Fans had a couple of weeks to absorb the new tunes, and many in the crowd were singing along. But more than that, there was a familiarity with the new music, and each song was greeted with a smile as if to say, “Oh yeah, this is a good one.” As each successive new one was added into the mix, it became obvious, if it wasn’t already prior, that this new album was a keeper. as solid as anything in Woods’ catalog.
Lead singer and guitarist Jeremy Earl, guitarist Jarvis Taveniere, drummer Aaron Neveu, and bassist John Andrews were joined by new keyboard/sax/tambourine/backing vocalist Kyle Forester. He may have been playing his first show, but his presence was immediately felt as he aptly rounded out the sonic landscapes.
Their highlight-worthy take on “The Take,” had Neveu getting dense beats with mallets, while Earl and Taveniere worked through some syncopated melodies. Eventually Neveu switched to sticks, pounding the song into a long trippy ride featuring some nice sax and guitar interplay that was reminiscent of some classic Traffic jams.
Their older material made strong appearances as well. They showcased their folksier side with “Cali in a Cup” and “Shepherd,” while a set-closing take on “With Light and With Love” gave a glimpse into the evolution that occured to arrive at their current sound. It was an adventure in rock and groove that wrapped up the evening perfectly.
Morning Light, Politics of Free, Leaves Like Glass, Hollow Home, Sun City Creeps, The Take, New Light, Cali in a Cup, Shepherd, Can’t See At All, Creature Comforts, With Light and with Love
E: Blood Dries Darker, Moving to the Left