Woods & Ultimate Painting, a couple of indie rock’s most Dead-indebted bands, concluded their US tour last night in Woods’ hometown of Brooklyn. As quite possible the largest headlining show Woods has ever played (and sold out!), it was amazing to see the band in their most evolved form yet, shredding a set that leaned mostly on the great new material they’ve put out in the past few years.
City Sun Eater in the River of Light, Woods fatastic LP that came out last month, sees the band diving incorporating elements of Ethiopian jazz and dub reggae with their classic psych-folk sound. When performed live, the band extends the jams a bit and allows them to breathe, and with a member count reaching up to seven at times, the exuberant instrumentation of the LP wasn’t lost in the live show. Tracks like “Creature Comfort” and “The Other Side” are relatively natural progressions from the lo-fi acoustic ballads of Woods earlier material, while “Sun City Creeps” and “The Take” explore new territory for what started out as Jeremy Earl’s bedroom project.
Sprinkle in a handful of older tracks, a killer jam on “With Light and With Love,” and Music Hall of Williamsburg’s always-awesome sound, crowd, and vibe, it made for a wonderful show. The band has clearly come a long way, and to see them growing their crowds as they evolve as musicians is an absolute treat for any fan. Of course, the same could be said for Ultimate Painting, who played Velvet-Underground-meets-Grateful-Dead-sounding tracks from their two LPs to kick off the night. That band is steady kicking more and more ass as the time goes by, and it seems like just the beginning for the UK rock outfit.