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Jam Central Station: The Wood Brothers Concert Review – 11.11.17 – The Beachland Ballroom – Cleveland, OH

November 18, 2017 | Posted by Jeff Modzelewski

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The Wood Brothers put on another sold out show in Cleveland last Saturday. The band has quietly become one of the best live acts, combining their exceptional songwriting and musicianship with an excellent live performance. You don’t usually think of folk acts as high energy entertainment, but The Wood Brothers were absolutely firing on all cylinders for this show. Lots of crowd interaction, plenty of fun musical moments, and excellent showmanship all around made this show a night to remember.

They opened with a bit of a slowed down version of “Singing to Strangers,” a great opening song and a good way to show that they weren’t going to hesitate to mix up their songs a little bit. I was prepared for what the two actual Wood brothers were capable of, but I could immediately tell that multi-instrumentalist Jano Rix was worth following on stage. He moved from a “shit-tar,” which was basically his acoustic guitar with a bunch of percussion stuff attached to it, to a melodica, and back to his kit where he would seamlessly move between the drums and keyboards, occasionally playing both at the same time. Chris started out the evening on his upright bass, and made the most of it on early songs like “Keep My Around,” “Atlas,” and the brand new song “River Takes the Town.” He even laid down a full solo on the upright, something that you rarely hear but he pulled it off nicely.

It’s hard to pull real highlights from the show, since the trio did such a great job interpreting the songs, and the songs are all just extremely well written. They didn’t rely on their bigger hits, mixing in songs like “Tried and Tempted” with lesser known songs like “Neon Trombone” and “Snake Eyes.” This wasn’t a problem at all, since it showed off the different styles the band could pull off, and many of these songs gave Rix an opportunity to mix up his instruments. They did a very fun bit about 2/3 of the way through their set where they pulled out an old-time microphone and all played in front of the old mic with no other amplification. Given the way the band channels old folk music it was very fitting for them to show what they could do with just one classic microphone.

I had been having some conversations about the band with friends, and I made the comparison more than once that Oliver Wood’s songwriting reminded me of Tom Petty’s, with catchy hooks, solid stories, and lyrics that were deep but still easy to digest. With that comparison already in my head I was unsurprised to hear the band pull out a cover of “You Wreck Me,” although I was thrilled at their slowed down, somewhat more serious take on the track. It was a fitting tribute from a band that definitely had some of their roots on Petty’s music. The final third of the set included solid takes on “Luckiest Man,” “Up Above My Head,” and Chris Wood throwng down some great dance moves during “Honey Jar.” They encored with “The Muse” and closed the night with an energetic “One More Day” to send the crowd home happy.

I was thrilled to finally get to see The Wood Brothers live, and the show definitely left me wanting to see more. They were absolutely on point for the entire set, not missing a beat whatsoever. I could have used another 20-30 minutes from the show (the set was 1:45), but it’s better to be left wanting more then to be checking your watch and seeing if it’s time to go. Hopefully I won’t have to wait too long to see them again and catch the songs that I missed this time around.

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moe. announces return to the stage
moe. announced their first return to the stage since they went on a break in August due to the cancer diagnosis of bassist Rob Derhak. The band is scheduled to play two nights at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY on February 2 and 3.

Summer Camp announces dates
The Summer Camp Festival will be on it’s usual Memorial Day weekend in it’s usual location of Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe, IL with it’s usual headliners of moe. and Umphrey’s McGee. The only piece there that was ever really in question was whether or not moe. would be ready for the show, but with their (previously mentioned) return to the stage happening in February it looks like all systems are go.

Wanee announces lineup
The Wanee Festival will return to Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oaks, FL from April 19-21. This year’s festival will feature many familiar faces, including 2 nights of Widespread Panic, Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band, Dark Star Orchestra, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, North Mississippi All Stars, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, and many others.

Umphrey’s McGee adds dates
Umphrey’s McGee is readying the release of it’s not us and put out a run of shows to celebrate the new album.

January 11 Pittsburgh, PA – Stage AE
January 12 Cincinnati, OH – Taft Theatre
January 13 Cincinnati, OH – Taft Theatre
January 19 New York, NY – Beacon Theatre
January 20 New York, NY – Beacon Theatre
January 21 New York, NY – Beacon Theatre
January 25 New Haven, CT – College Street Music Hall
January 26 Philadelphia, PA – The Fillmore
January 27 Philadelphia, PA – The Fillmore
January 28 Jim Thorpe, PA – Penn’s Peak
February 1 Columbus, OH – Express Live!
February 2 Kalamazoo, MI – Wings Event Center
February 3 Kalamazoo, MI – Wings Event Center
February 15 Washington, DC – The Anthem
February 16 Asheville, NC – ExploreAsheville.com Arena
February 17 Asheville, NC – ExploreAsheville.com Arena
February 18 Tampa, FL – WhigFest Music & Arts Festival
March 7 Aspen, CO – Belly Up
March 8 Aspen, CO – Belly Up
March 9 Aspen, CO – Belly Up
March 10 Salt Lake City, UT – The Complex
March 14 Missoula, MT – The Wilma
March 15 Seattle, WA – Showbox
March 16 Portland, OR – Crystal Ballroom
March 17 Portland, OR – Crystal Ballroom
March 22 South Lake Tahoe, CA – Harrah’s
March 23 Oakland, CA – Fox Theater
March 24 Los Angeles, CA – The Wiltern
March 25 San Diego, CA – Observatory North Park

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Dominican Holidaze
December 1-5
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Umphrey’s McGee, STS9, The Disco Biscuits, GRiZ, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, TAUK, The Motet, Lotus, Spafford

Strings & Sol
December 8-12
Now Sapphire
Puerto Morelos, MX
Yonder Mountain String Band, Greensky Bluegrass, Railroad Earth, Leftover Salmon, Infamous Stringdusters, Fruition

Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds in Mexico
January 12-14
Riviera Maya, MX
3 nights of Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds as well as Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn, Brandi Carlisle, and Joseph

Gov’t Mule’s Island Exodus
January 13-17
Jewel Paradise Cove
Runaway Bay, Jamaica
Gov’t Mule, Warren Haynes, JJ Grey & Mofro

Jam in the Sand
January 18-22
Jewel Paradise Cove
Ruanaway Bay, Jamaica
Dark Star Orchestra, Hot Tuna, Rumpke Mountain Boys

Jam Cruise
January 17-22
Medeski, Martin, Scofield & Wood, Galactic, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Maceo Parker, Lotus, Lettuce, Gramatik, Keller Williams, The New Mastersounds, Dumpstaphunk, Turkuaz, The Main Squeeze

Gem & Jam
January 25-28
Tuscon, AZ
STS9, Greensky Bluegrass, Lettuce, Breaking Biscuits, Emancipator, Railroad Earth

Panic En La Playa
January 26-30
Riviera Maya, Mexico

Winter WonderGrass
February 21-23
Steamboat Springs, CO
Greensky Bluegrass, Yonder Mountain String Band, Leftover Salmon, Elephant Revival, Horseshoes & Handgrenades, Travelin’ McCoury’s, Fruition, Billy Strings

Winter Wondergrass Tahoe
April 6-8
Squaw Valley, CA
The Devil Makes Three, Railroad Earth, The Infamous Stringdusters, Elephant Revival, The California Honeydrops, Steep Canyon Rangers, Fruition, The Lil’ Smokies

Wannee Festival
April 19-21
Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park
Live Oaks, FL
Widespread Panic, Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band, Dark Star Orchestra, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, North Mississippi Allstars, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe

Sweetwater 420 Festival
April 20-22
Centennial Park
Atlanta, GA
Umphrey’s McGee, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Sturgill Simpson, Vulfpeck, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Papadosio, The Record Company, Spafford, Southern Avenue

MerleFest
April 26-29
Wilkes Community College
Wilkesboro, NC
Kris Kristofferson, Jamey Johnson, Sam Bush, The Devil Makes Three, Donna the Buffalo, The Way Down Wanderers, Wesley Bright & The Honeytones,

Summer Camp
May 25-27
Three Sisters Park
Chillicothe, IL
moe., Umphrey’s McGee

Bonnaroo
June 7-10
Manchester, TN

Electric Forest Weekend 1
June 21-24
Double JJ Ranch & Resort
Rothbury, MI

Electric Forest Weekend 2
June 28-July 1
Double JJ Ranch & Resort
Rothbury, MI

Floydfest
July 25-29
Floyd, VA
Foster the People, The Infamous Stringdusters, Hiss Golden Messenger

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Thanks again for stopping by. I’ll be back next week with more jam. Until then, check me out on Facebook and Twitter for up to the minute concert announcements. Until next week, Jam On!