The Wood Brothers | photo by Emily DeHart for WXPN
XPN Fest Recap: The Wood Brothers’ exceptional musicianship shines against the Delaware River
Oliver Wood has one of those voices that, when you hear it live, you’re somehow surprised that it sounds exactly like it does on the records. It’s raspiness is unmistakeable, and it was absolutely on point on the River Stage, as was The Wood Brothers as a whole.
In case you didn’t know, two-thirds of the Wood Brothers are, in fact, brothers, and their vocals blend harmoniously together to prove it. Joining Oliver and Chris is Jano Rix on drums. The musicianship of each of the three members is impeccable, and the control they have over the volume of their instruments made for a solid set. Chris Wood’s upright bass solos alone were so intriguing — I couldn’t look away. His energetic dance moves definitely had something to do with that too. “Who the Devil” began with a wild, spacey, upright bass intro where Chris broke his bow out and dragged it back and forth across the thick strings.
The Wood Brothers were clearly psyched to be at XPN Fest, thanking the station for having them and thanking the audience for singing along with them. They even dedicated “Postcards From Hell” to XPN because it’s about loving music. Oliver said to the audience, “we like a lot of things these days,” but love is much more rare. The song temporarily brought the energy down, and Rix threw in some tasty, soulful harmonica.
Oliver connected with the audience throughout the set, frequently checking in to see that everyone was hydrated and happy. When the band played “Happiness Jones,” they made it an “Express Yourself” mashup. They weaved the two songs together flawlessly and the crowd was definitely feeling it. For “Keep Me Around,” Rix came to the front of the stage to sing with the brothers. He carried the song rhythmically by tapping out its beat on an acoustic guitar.
The set ended with “Snake Eyes,” during which Oliver and Chris shared a brotherly dance session. The three band members took epic solos to celebrate the conclusion of their XPN Fest 2019 performance.
The Wood Brothers have a live album coming out in September and a studio album due for release in January. In the meantime, take a listen to their XPNFest performance below, and check out a gallery of photos from the show.
Who the Devil
Postcards from Hell
Keep Me Around
Shoo Fly Pie