The Wood Brothers Dazzle Fans Over Two Nights at 9:30 Club

The Wood Brothers perform at the 9:30 Club in Washington DC

Brothers Chris and Oliver Wood brought their three-piece band, The Wood Brothers, with multi-instrumentalist Jano Rix to 9:30 Club for two nights over Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Weekend, treating fans to a pair of fantastic shows with support from singer-songwriter, Priscilla Renea.

Night 1 - January 17

Words by: Karin McLaughlin

Photos by: Jason Herman

Night one started with an angel dressed in blue, as Priscilla Renea dazzled the crowd and her microphone, gaining many new fans in the audience, which was absolutely no surprise considering her performance left many in awe.  Priscilla has written radio hits for artists like Rihanna and Diplo, which made it easy for audience members to sing along, but it was the delivery of those hits that put them on a whole other playing field.

Priscilla Renea performs at the 9:30 Club
Priscilla Renea performs at the 9:30 Club

“It’s very different than writing to come out and get to perform these songs to a live audience,” she noted when speaking with her after the show at her mobbed merch stand.  “I love being able to have that interaction with fans and touring with the Wood Brothers, who are so encouraging and a Grammy nominated group. It's truly an honor.” Onstage with her were an Irish musician who wore two braided pig-tails and played both the harp and banjo, as well as a laid back guitarist who sat towards the edge of the stage, strumming along, wearing shades and a chain. Songs like “Timber,” heard on the radio performed by Pitbull and Ke$ha, and "California King Bed,” a love song that put Renea on the map when it was realeased on Rhianna’s 2011 album, are not necessarily what you would expect to hear from the opener at a Wood Brothers concert, but it was a sheer delight to have her open for the band.  Renea's 2018 solo release, Coloured, provided the bulk of material that she wrote and performed that evening, which left a large chunk of the crowd fawning over her after the show.

The Wood Brothers perform at the 9:30 Club in Washington DC
The Wood Brothers perform at the 9:30 Club in Washington DC

As snow continued to fall outside, inside the crowd was warmed up and ready for the main act to take the stage and remind them what great music is and that it’s still being made.  Opening the show with “Big Boss Man” and then diving right into what is one of their biggest hits, “The Luckiest Man,” audience members knew it was going to be a strong showing for the trio. After finishing up the slower song that had folks swaying along to the words, guitarist and lead singer, Oliver Wood, welcomed the crowd, “We’re excited for two nights here, it’s gonna be a real humdinger.”  Speeding it up and then slowing it down again before playing the first song off their Grammy-nominated 2018 album, One Drop of Truth,  the crowd was dazzled by fancy footwork and amazing guitar riffs by the first of about a dozen guitar choices that sat on stage waiting to be played.

Chris Woods dancing on every inch of the stage
Chris Woods dancing on every inch of the stage

All over the musical map, the trio continued to hypnotize attendees with the dance moves, guitar playing, bass strumming and amazing vocals that came from the stage song after song.  A light show to match “Blue and Green” illuminated the 9:30 Club and made the stage look almost dreamy as they explained that being nominated for a Grammy makes them feel both humbled and proud.  A jam in the middle of “Atlas,” a song off their 2006 album Ways Not to Lose, had Chris Wood hot-footing over every square inch of the stage as the audience hooted and hollered, cheering him on.

Changing the pace and feel just a bit, all three members gathered around one microphone center stage.  “We are living in funny times right now," said Chris as he spoke to the fans, “Back when times were simpler is when most folks singing music like this would only use one mic.  We try to do this to remember the better days - for nostalgia.” The cheers returned, signaling that their fans agreed. He went on to point out that when you read the history books, the "old days" weren’t all that great for a lot of people. “You learn the truth about nostalgia and you realize the times then were weird. Now is weirder and the future is gonna be really, really weird.” Some folks laughed and others sighed but his words continued with more encouragement.  “So what are we gonna do? We’re gonna protest and we’re gonna vote. No doubt. And tonight, we’re gonna sing and dance.” Hushes echoed throughout the venue as the three band members serenaded us with instruments in hand, unplugged and evoked such emotion that no one made a sound as they performed their intimate and stripped down acoustic mini-set.

The Wood Brothers perform at the 9:30 Club in Washington DC
The Wood Brothers perform at the 9:30 Club in Washington DC

It had been a theme throughout the night, but after the silence that fell over the venue during the one-mic stint, the band reiterated again that even though it was Thursday, they were going to try for some Friday or Saturday night vibes during the show.  Revving things right back up, “I Got Loaded” breathed life back into the party. Seeming to once again make a statement and let us know that we’re all in this together and that they’re thinking about those of us that are, they dedicated “Postcards From Hell” to anyone who was “furloughed or working for free or cheap”.

Night 2 - January 18

Words by: Seth Gordon-Lipkin

Photos by: Shantel Breen

For the second night of their all-too-brief visit to 9:30 Club, the Wood Brothers mixed up their setlist, but offered an equally beautiful concert for a sold-out crowd. Priscilla Renea opened the night again, providing her another opportunity to wow unfamiliar music-lovers in attendance, and surely picked up another batch of new fans, myself included. Priscilla's remarkable vocal range and endearing stage presence provided an incredible jolt to start the evening. Her song "Jonjo," offered an upbeat, scat-filled swing tune about Renea's "love-hate relationship" with her brother, but got the crowd limber with an energetic dance tune.

Oliver Wood of The Wood Brothers performs at the 9:30 Club
Oliver Wood of The Wood Brothers performs at the 9:30 Club

Upon returning to the stage, the Wood Brothers picked up right where they left off the night before, opening the show with "Postcards from Hell," with Chris Wood playing his double bass with a bow, sending a gorgeous low hum over the crowd. The band would continue to mix up their setlist, but delivered a similarly glorious show for those who chose to attend both nights.

Chris Wood of The Wood Brothers performs at the 9:30 Club
Chris Wood of The Wood Brothers performs at the 9:30 Club

An unexpected and wonderful feature of the second night was the addition of Priscilla Renea to the brief portion of the set where the band huddled around their decades-old studio microphone. Lending her magnificent voice to the Wood Brothers, Renea is clearly an artist to keep an eye on for great things to come. This portion of the show also featured Jano Rix playing the lesser-known instrument the melodica, adding a unique layer to the band's sound.

Other highlights of the set included an up-tempo, syncopated arrangement of "Mary Anna," a crowd-sung chorus in "Luckiest Man," and a show-closing cover of the Band's "Ophelia" that sent the crowd dancing into the cold Friday night. The Wood Brothers once again left the DC crowd eager for more, and we can only hope 9:30 Club will bring this outstanding trio back to our nation's capital for two nights sooner than next January.

The Wood Brothers with Priscilla Renea perform at the 9:30 Club

The Wood Brothers and Priscilla Renea close out their two-night run at the 9:30 Club

Audio Recordings

Audio Recordings

Audio Recordings


Enjoy the audio recording by our contributor Alex Leary

Performance Date:  January 18, 2019

Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery


Enjoy night 1 photos by our photographer Jason Herman of Jason Herman Photography.

The Wood Brothers
Priscilla Renea

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Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery


Enjoy night 2 photos by our photographer Shantel Breen of These Subtle Sounds.

The Wood Brothers
Priscilla Renea

Associated Albums

Associated Albums

Associated Albums


The Wood Brothers (Photo Credit & ©: Alysse Gafkjen)

Click to Purchase -

One Drop of Truth by The Wood Brothers

Priscilla Renea <i>Colored</i>

Click to Purchase

Colored by Priscilla Renea


About the author
DC Music Review Staff

DC Music Review Staff

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