TVD Live: WOODS with Purling Hiss at the Rock and Roll Hotel, 12/17

Despite the low-fi label that has been attached to the musical descriptions of both WOODS and Purling Hiss, neither band had anything but high energy and a lively rock ‘n roll spirit emanating from them last Saturday when they performed at the Rock & Roll Hotel on H Street.

WOODS created their rock ‘n roll ambience with more of a classic ’60s vibe. Long, delicate tracks created a trance-like state that seemed to borrow from both the sitar days of The Beatles and the “Soul Meets Body” era of Death Cab For Cutie. The communal hippie mentality also extended to their instrumentation as the drummer, bassist, and tape effects technician all rotated instruments and stage locations for nearly every song. Lead singer Jeremy Earl did maintain his position on guitar and firmly held his position stage left, however.

WOODS – Christmas Time is Here

Towards the end of WOODS’ set, I thought I was imagining it, but no—they were even burning incense on stage! The smell wafted through the audience as they played their last few vibrating tracks, the guitars creating a gentle reverb that echoed through the audience.

Hailing from Philadelphia, Purling Hiss has a sporadic and raw rock sound at some moments, with a conventional pop bounce at others. For some reason, the first comparison that came to my mind was Weezer, a la the Troublemaker era. Boisterously overconfident in a somewhat ironic way, the music bops along and simultaneously rocks out as lead singer Mike Polizze sings as cooes, “ooh, ooh, ooh” throughout song’s choruses, just as I have seen Rivers Cuomo do.

Their music provided an upbeat vibe that was palpable by not even looking at the band but at the audience—everyone in the crowd was at least tapping a foot or two, and that is exactly the kind of atmosphere you want an opening act to create.

While one band channeled the ’60s and the other the ’90s, both acts dove into rock ‘n roll’s past, but they still managed to make music that was uniquely their own.

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