Written by Kailyn Warpole // Photos from Jessica Pham
On Sunday, November 15, the Wood Brothers rocked the Brooklyn Arts Center, along with supporting act The Rigs. The Wood Brothers—brothers Oliver and Chris Wood, and Jano Rix— were touring to promote their fifth studio album, Paradise, which was released in October. Offering up their distinct brand of Americana-blues-style folk-rock, the band put on an unforgettable show for fans at the historic church.
Before the Wood Brothers went on, an inspired trio of newcomers known as The Rigs got the crowd energized with their self-described “uniquely Supercharged Americana” sound. Band members Eric Robertson (guitar, bass, mandolin), Duncan Wickel (fiddle, cello), and Nicholas Falk (drums, banjo, bass) felt connected to the audience, who danced along to the infectious melodies. “You could really feel the spirit of everyone’s energy tuned into the music,” Greensboro-native Eric Robertson says of being on stage at the BAC. “Being in Wilmington, being in North Carolina, it’s just full of music lovers.” The band never gets tired of seeing the Wood Brothers perform. “They’re our heroes. They’re one of our favorite bands,” says Robertson. “It’s really inspiring to get to see them play every night, and I feel like it changes the way we play every night, just after watching all their shows.”
As the much-anticipated headliner took the stage, the crowd—which packed the church from wall to wall—welcomed the folk rock stars with cheers. The band began with a song from Paradise, titled “Never and Always.” From there, the show was a fan-pleasing mix of spirited hits (like “Mary Anna” and “Who the Devil”) and soulful ballads from previous albums (such as “The Shore” and “Postcards from Hell”) punctuated with samples of fresh and dazzling tracks from their latest record.
Halfway through the set, the band changed up their arrangement by bringing a 1920s-style carbon microphone to the center of the stage. Jano stepped away from his drum kit to join Chris and Oliver up front. The lights came down—only a warm, reddish-orange light illuminated the musicians’ faces and instruments, with a soft, bluish-purple tint behind them, creating the feel of watching the group perform around a campfire. “We call this part of the show ‘O Wood Brother, Where Art Thou?’” Chris Wood said to the crowd. After playing a slower song that had the room swaying to the soft rhythm, the band called The Rigs back to the stage to help them pick up the tempo a bit. In that same campfire-esque setup, the six-piece supergroup played the upbeat “Liza Jane,” which was easily the crowd favorite of the night.
When it comes to writing their music, the band is influenced by both the positive and negative aspects of life. “No matter what kind of art you do, whether it’s music or writing or painting or whatever, you draw from your experience,” says singer/guitarist Oliver Wood. “So all the good stuff and all the bad stuff is what inspires you to create, or want to create.”
The Wood Brothers are looking forward to continuing their tour, and the coming months will see some exciting stops. “We’re going to the West Coast right after the holidays,” Oliver Wood says. “We’re going to play in Europe in the spring and Bonnaroo in June and lots of great festivals in the summertime.”