By Zoe Huettl
13 June, 2019
On a chilly, bright Thursday night, The Wood Brothers began their opening set at Ravinia. Their Americana-folk sound matched well with the low-key, outdoor venue, and the more casual, weeknight vibe. The trio from Nashville started out with an organic, dry folksy tune, “Tried and Tempted” which let their upright bass player shine in his fluid, dug-in part. Chris Wood, brother of lead singer/ guitarist Oliver, shone throughout the set with his deterous, playful bassline and jazz-band-style improvisation. “Atlas” was a great moment of guitar versus bass dueling, though done with a relaxed, folksy abandon that made the set joyful and fun. “Sparkling Wine” is one of the happiest-sounding breakup songs I’ve heard; the bright, funky sound in contrast to the more emotive, gritty lyrics made for an emotional shift that doesn’t upset the trajectory of the set. “One Drop of Truth,” the leading track off of their newest release, was a great blues-style rag, with a jamming bassline and unyieling vocal that brought some dynamism to their set. They played for almost an hour and a half, an impressive length for an opener, and even brought out the lead singer and bass player from Lake Street Dive for an old-school, one-mic tune. Their vocal mix was beautiful, and it was a great end to an emotive, evocative opener.
Lake Street Dive opened up with “Neighbor Song,” a sweet, well-written piece that brought the audience intimately into the band’s performance. The slice-of-life-style lyrics, along with lead singer Rachel Price’s comfortable, exuberant presence onstage, was a great beginning to a fun set. “Rabid Animal” was a slight mood shift, the guitar and upright bass together brought out the depth in Price’s vocal and made for a deeper, funkier sound. “Bohemian Rhapsody” was more of a middle ground between the group’s funkier and singer-songwriter sides, with the organ from Akie Bermiss pushing the song further into funk territory. “YOUNG BOY”, a more hook-focused song, brought out both Price’s vocal sass and a surprising feature by her sister Emily on some operatic-style vocals. Bermiss then took the lead vocal on a stunning cover of “Still the One”–Bermiss’ warm vocal made for a beautiful adaptation of the song, and it was interesting seeing his vocal blend with Price switch leads. Topped off with a great trumpet solo, it was one of the night’s most precious moments. Another great cover of “Everyday People” brought the Wood Brothers back out on stage, and a fun double upright bass section. Their set hit its climax with “Seventeen,” a poppy tune with a stripped-down vocal and fun tempo-switch, that ended the show on a fun, light note.