Perhaps no one is better suited in the band name category for the campy wilderness of Golden Gate Park, venue for the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival this weekend, than Brooklyn’s Woods. Their sound — a psych-y lo-fi mix of charming melodies and fuzzy, seizuring guitar lines — should also match up well with the hallowed outdoor space. The band has caught the attention of various taste-makers with its last three albums: the experimental and folky Songs of Shame, the backyard tripper minimalist jamming of At Echo Lake and their slightly more polished and accessible Sun and Shade.
Rarely does a music venue match a band’s aesthetic as well as it did Saturday night when the alter boy-folk revivalists known as Fleet Foxes played an al fresco show at Berkeley’s Greek Theater. Strawberry Canyon in the Berkeley hills is exactly the type of place that inspired the band’s most recent album, the ridiculously successful Helplessness Blues, where the wonder of wilderness interacts with a generation coming of age (the venue is adjacent to the UC Berkeley campus).
Before we discuss the Mountain Goats’ performance last night at the Fillmore, please accept this prerequisite information: It’s been documented that many of the great canonical authors of American literature had a particularly strong love-hate relationship with the areas that shaped who they became. Mark Twain, William Faulkner, John Steinbeck — all of them were distinctly of a place, and a conflicted passion for their homeland informed their best works. Ask any English lit major; they probably BS’ed their way through a class on said argument.