Monday, September 30, 2013

Woodsist Festival - Pioneertown 2013

Tucked into the dusty environs of Pappy & Harriet's...the Woodsist crew rolled through the desert like a peaceful posse. Pitching camp in the perfect of settings, for a musical lineup that included: Ducktails, White Fence, The Babies, Alex Bleeker and the Freaks, The Fresh & Onlys, Woods and Real Estate.

Amongst the performers, Alex Bleeker proved the most dynamic. Pulling from his shiny and happy recent realease, How Far Away, he brought the sun down against the Joshua Tree laden backdrop...inspiring a crowd-wide dance party to a well timed cover of, Walking on Sunshine. But, his duties didn't end there. He showed up for a track with Woods (which was one of the best moments of the evening...more on that below) and then sticking around to wrap up the outdoor portion of the festival with his day job, as bass player for Real Estate. Very talented (and friendly) dude.

San Francisco's The Fresh & Only's set the tone for the moonlit portion of the show with a hooky, straight-ahead performance. Their full and catchy catalogue was an ice-cold PBR to the whiskey chaser of Woods.

The festival's namesake band, Woods - paired so well with the vibe and ambience, that it will go down as one of my personal favorite musical memories. If you are unfamiliar with their campfire brand of jammy folk rock ... start with their album, Bend Beyond. Following a meticulous (and admittedly exhausting soundcheck), the band roared into their set. Weaving Jeremy Earl's signature falsetto with layered reverb, keys, stringy guitar lines and buoyant rhythms - their sneaky melodies rose to the surface and blanketed the audience. From crescendoing, freaky jam-outs to taut sing-alongs...the band honed in on the setting and the setting honed in on the band. In fact, with Alex Bleeker in tow - Woods wrapped things up, asking the dusty landscape of Pioneertown, CCR's age old question - Have You Ever Seen the Rain? A proper segue to the coastal vibes Real Estate would bring to the stage.

Real Estate zigzagged through a set of their signature laidback, breezy tracks. Inspiring the occasional crowd surfer and hands-in-the-air dance party. It felt good and thanks to the friendliest of audiences, it also felt like your friend's backyard party. In fact, it was lead-singer Martin Courtney's birthday...he blew out the candles and the crowd's expectations of how a tight-knit community of artists should perform and commune with an audience.

The whole event was a wonderful celebration that had us drinking every bit of Cali in a Cup.

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