I’ve been to a few shows in record stores before. One thing is for sure, they are always very intimate, small, and a little personal simply due to the nature of the environment. Usually the bands that play shows at record stores are small touring acts or local artists. But in the strange circumstances that occurred on Saturday, April 30th, one of America’s top alternative artists ended up playing a free show in the back of Love Garden Sounds in Lawrence, Kansas. After releasing their ninth studio album, Woods was bound for Austin while out on tour, but due to some bad weather, the show in Austin was cancelled. What a great day for LFK and a sad one for Austin it was.
The venue was unique. Love Garden has no stage, but they do have a pretty surprisingly good sound setup. Nestled up in the back of the long, rectangular room, Woods set up while the audience browsed the excellent selection of vinyl, CDs and cassettes. As soon as the music started, everyone turned their backs to the vinyl and paid full attention. It was a performance that truly demanded it. Woods has gone through several lineup changes over the years and lost a few amazing artists including Kevin Morby who formerly contributed on bass, but their live presence is that of a band who has performed for crowds huge and small. They were all very comfortable interacting with the audience and even asked for requests. It’s something special to see a band like Woods ask for requests and have various members of the audience pick out tracks from literally any of their nine studio records and shout them out. Not many bands would put up with audience members shouting at them to play songs they wanted to hear.
Throughout the set, they covered a wide span of their career, covering many of their records and especially hitting on their latest release, City Sun Eater in the River of Light. I enjoyed their newest tracks and they performed them crisply. Jeremy Earl’s unique falsetto filled the room exceptionally well while most members of the audience remained still and quiet, save a few small children running about through the forest of legs to get a better view of the show. It was a treat to see Woods and completely worth the Saturday evening drive to catch them in LFK.