We are in front of the legendary Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto. It is an incredibly warm and calm November night, shortly before 11 PM, and Wooden Shjips is about to start their set.
But for a few minutes now the patio is a mix of people and smokes.
Inside, the stage setup features the keyboard at the front left, as you face the stage. The guitar is on the right but towards the back of the stage, while the center is dominated by the rhythm section.
This setup seems a little strange now, but shortly into the show it is obvious that the center of the Wooden Shjips sound is the ceaseless pumping of the bass and drums. The core rhythm is the driver, and they surround it with layer upon layer of hypnotic sounds coming out of the keyboard and guitar, punctuated by vocal incantations.
My buddy Raz, who is a krautrock fan like me, acknowledges that WS is the ELOY of 2011, but then adds: “WS is more, they provide this rhythm and trance mix like DOORS did, it’s overloaded with sexual potential.” Sweating in the front of the stage, where young girls float and dance and let themselves free, I have to admit Raz is right.
Regardless of my reasons to cut the cord with the real life, I dance the night away with Wooden Shjips.