The Woes have been on my radar only through word of mouth among the bands I write about, like Langhorne Slim, o'death, Sgt Dunbar, and the Hobo Banned. I met Osei Essed at Brooklyn Bowl at the Langhorne Slim show and realized we’ve crossed paths at other shows. It sometimes takes me a while to dot the i's. So, I made it a point to go uptown to Ars Nova.
The Woes bring an all-one approach to their music, combining genres of soul, punk gospel, blues, early folk, and jazz with impressive attention to detail. With the exuberance of a funeral marchin jubilee, they played jazzy segments on saxophone, trumpet, and french horn with bluesy riffs on guitar and banjo and rev-ed up action on the peddle steel guitar.
All the great musicianship centers around the deep vocals of Osei Essed. His soulful straightforwardness, blended and angst-ridden thickness from below the diaphragm creates an urgency of quick, tight upheavals of rising howls, whoops, and groans. The jubilant chorus of shouters from the brass section belts it up between blows, adding to the lively mix.
What was great for me was to really get a chance to hear their music in a venue that cares about sound. So I could fully appreciate their live set's clarity and tight framework.
The Defibulators from Brooklyn bring tongue-in-cheek Hee Haw antics and references to redneck country, pickups, and truck stop a go-go to their blend of rockabilly homegrown country rock. The six-person group played a lively, theatrical, and friendly set with excellent instrumentation and the outstanding voice of Erin Bru, their only female member. All in good fun, they played with a bit of help from their comedic puppet Buddy, a “human” version of Triumph the insult comic dog as the master of ceremonies. The Defibulators brought out all the stops, including a comedic movie short about tour stash and the cops on the take looking for the shit.
Ars Nova is a small venue that cares. This was my second visit to the small intimate venue, but a few of the groups I’ve featured on this site, like Langhorne Slim, Geo Wyeth, and Max Vernon, have played there. Ars Nova provides a hub for emerging music, comedy, and theater talent. Getting the word out about this diamond in the rough should be paramount.
The Woes Flickr Set
The Defibulators Flickr Set