Woodhands / The Public or the Press / Brasstronauts The Lamplighter, Vancouver, BC August 7


If last night’s Lamplighter show proves anything it’s this: there ain’t no party like a Woodhands party. These Vancouver expats turned Toronto residents served up a show that was anything but typical, igniting one hot, sweaty dance party in the process. At first glance, however, Woodhands don’t look the type to provoke movement on the dance floor. Singer/keyboardist Dan Werb came sporting horn-rimmed specs and physique best suited for a career in library science, whereas drummer Paul Banwatt flaunted a Trekkie tee reminding everyone to "live long and prosper.” But appearances can be deceiving. With a holler of "Are you with us?” Werb set the show in motion, his right hand punching down on what’s likely the world’s sexiest and whitest keytar, while his left pummelled a chaotic console of electronics. His accompanying vocals came as a mix of shouts and off-key Prince-like melodies, where he spastically spit lyrics — with and without a robotic vocoder effect — into a double-mic set-up. Complete the picture with Banwatt punching out dance beats on a live kit, and you have Woodhands’ complex, two-man live show. And if this at all sounds gimmicky, rest assured it was not. They know what they are doing with their unique brand of "lovesexy” electro insanity, putting in enough clever hooks and grooves to entertain the most stubborn wallflower. For proof, check out "Dancer” on their MySpace; live, this full-on anthem caused the crowd to do some serious chin-stroking, as well as bum rush the stage to join Banwatt, a guest female vocalist and a now shirtless Werb. While the night’s local entertainment — the chilled-out Clips side project, Brasstronauts, and the Josef K-worshipping, the Public or the Press — did a decent job, their sets hardly compared to what Woodlands put down on stage. But to be fair, few could.