Before embarking on their upcoming European tour in roughly a month, Woody Pines and the Lonesome Two stopped by Casa Cantina Friday night for a rollicking set. I was excited for this show, having circled it on my calendar for a couple of reasons. I had missed the trio when they last rolled through Athens, having discovered them just a few months ago. To boot, my younger brother, Kyle, was coming to Athens for Sibs Weekend. He hadn't visited Athens since I myself was his age (he's 16, I'm 19) and had certainly never been to a show in Athens. I was determined to show him a good time, even if the style of music was not exactly his thing.
Off we went, arriving at Casa at roughly 10 in the evening. It was at this point that I assigned Kyle to camera duty, for two reasons: firstly, I wanted to give him something to do; and secondly, I didn't want to do it. He seemed completely fine with it, so it really was a win-win for me. I have the intrinsic ability of messing up any picture I take. I could be taking a picture of the Capitol building in D.C. from across the mall and totally miss it. No joke. This actually happened to me once.
Woody Pines went on at a quarter til 11. And that's when shit got crazy.
So much dancing. So much flailing. The audience was moving. It was like a drunken barn dance minus the line dances, which I was totally expecting to break out the entire time. This would probably have been less surprising had I experienced an act along the lines of Woody Pines before that night, but this was my first time too. Kyle and I looked over at each other, stupid grins etched upon our faces. We do not come from a family of dancers. We were so out of place, it was hilarious.
The night wore on. A nearby man grinded up against me as he danced. Subconsciously, I'm hoping. Next to me, a girl dropped her beer, which was thankfully in a plastic cup. The crowd did not care. They danced through the expanding puddle on the floor. A staff member of Casa arrived shortly after to clean the mess. Placing a rag under his foot, he cleaned the puddle to the beat of the song, almost dancing along. Did I get a kick out of that? You bet.
My brother's comments cannot go unmentioned. He mentioned early on that the show reminded him of being at a Pentecostal church. I suppose that's not a horrible comparison. Throughout the show, he was consistently remarking at how downright interesting this show was. That in itself made the night worth it. I'm a self-conscious person; I worry about whether or not my guests are having a good time. When they are, I am.
Another beer dropped -- this time, it was in a glass bottle. Did the crowd care? Of course not; they danced right through it. I mean, what's a little glass in one's foot, right?
Woody and his bandmates were simply great as well. These guys put on a frolicsome show, if you could not infer that from the crowd reaction. It's a down-and-dirty bluegrass hoedown, from quick numbers about farmers to slower, swing-influenced songs that really set the couples in motion. Woody adds harmonica and kazoo to the mix at times along with his guitar, with double bass and percussion backing him. A saxophonist/clarinetist was also present on this night and was a supremely welcome addition.A string broke on Woody's instrument toward the end of the set. What does that mean, aside from changing the string? Whiskey, apparently! As Pines down his glass of whiskey, I stood there and wondered if this was actually was some sort of unwritten tradition. Sounds good to me, though. When I get big, hit platinum and all that jazz, I'll be breaking five to six strings a night at minimum. You know why.
The band's set ended a little past midnight. It was a mere 10 minute break; they were coming back and would be performing well into the evening. We, however, took our leave at this point, having to get up at a decent hour the next day. I would like to thank Woody Pines for a great show (or half of a show), though. You've gotta be doing something right if you can get a metalcore-leaning kid like my brother into a bluegrass band. Stay sweet, fellas. Stay sweet.
-Kevin Rutherford, Senior Writer