Show Review: Wood Butcher

Outside of scientific symposiums, hokey self-help seminars, and cover bands, you can’t win a crowd with formulas.

If you’re going to step on stage and play a show, make sure it’s worth watching.  A lot of bands step on stage without practicing enough and they end up paying the price of obscurity until they figure out why people always have a dog to shower every Saturday night.

Also, be silly levels of charismatic.

Promoters, it’s a safe bet putting Wood Butcher on your bill, they’ll make sure everybody showers their dog another night.  So many musicians and bands in Toronto are obsessed with looking bored on stage because caring isn’t cool.  Joke’s on them, turns out people like good music where the band interacts with you.

On an unexpected Thursday night in April, Wood Butcher played Cherry Cola’s with the self-effacing Buddy Black and self-hating Ghost Umbrellas.  Charisma played a big part in people coming out, packing the venue and actually paying attention.  Oh, also burlesque dancers.

Wood Butcher is the type of band you need to see at least once, the stage presence of lead singer Janus “Jaws” Jansons will harken the old folks back to the days of Jello Biafra in the Dead Kennedys but attached to the music of Billy Bragg backed by a punk band.

The most impressive thing about their band is their front-man, the music is really good, a solid 7.5-8/10, but Janus has a way about him that is absolutely electric and turns them into one of Toronto’s must-see acts.  At times you don’t notice the rest of the band, they need to look up and at the crowd more, take a page from the business world and make eye contact, but they sure do shred their instruments.

One of the best parts of seeing a Wood Butcher show is the slew of burlesque dancers they invite on stage throughout.  It seems natural a band like Wood Butcher would just have dancers waiting around to dance their clothes away.  That’s the charm of this band, you don’t know what is coming next but you know it’s going to be extremely entertaining.  They also cover Closer by Nine Inch Nails way better than anyone you’ll ever see.

-Aaron

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