Wooden Shjips hail from San Francisco and are named after a song by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Two of my friends worship this band, but this is my first gig by them. My first impressions are that they are very hairy, and look like they have just escaped from the late 60s/early 70's, but want to stay there.

Tonight they are playing an 'Uncut' club night so the venue is somewhat packed. The band play a 63 minute main set with a two song encore. They have a few sound problems, with their instruments clapping out on them . On the plus side, Jarvis Cocker, however, turns up to show his loyalty to the band

Bird song starts every song, but every song even the two covers begins and ends in the same way with weird and wild Stooges-like guitar, followed by Doors-style psychedelic keyboards, heavy bass and strong drums.

The vocalist, Erik "Ripley" Johnson, is largely inaudible over the volume of the band's music. For my ears they are very much the same, not knowing whether they want to be a psychedelic or prog rock outfit, and musically following in the same paths as fellow San Francisco band, the Warlocks. They do lots of psych workouts, which would feel more natural if the venue was smokey and full of dope in the air, and choose to play near the end of their main set a Spaceman 3 song which fits in perfectly, while the last number is a cover of Neil Young's 'Vampire Blues'.

An enjoyable night, but they need more depth.

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Commenting On: Borderline, London, 19/8//2009 - Wooden Shjips

ie London, England

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