I’m sitting in a busy coffee shop with 21-year-old John Lennon look-alike Josh Weed when the namesake member of Michael Wood Band shows up, fashionably late as I’m told is customary. He’s just come from a class on The Beatles at University of Victoria and it’s immediately apparent that below their young and jovial exteriors these two are serious music men.
Michael Wood Band is from the Victoria area, and after releasing their debut album Occupy This in 2012 they’re off to a fast start. All band members are under the age of 22 and have already played over 30 shows since their album debuted, including the Calgary Stampede.
Next up on the tour roster Michael Wood Band heads to Sun Peaks to play at The Club on January 26, which coincides with Australia Day. I took the liberty of explaining the extent of Australia Day at Sun Peaks Resort to Wood and band-mate Josh Weed, after which Wood shared a story about a sample encounter during a show in Victoria.
“I used to have a regular gig at this café and the best time I ever had playing there was when these three Australian guys came and they were really stoked that I played an Australian song,” says Wood. “They got rowdier and rowdier until finally all three of them finally got kicked out.”
Sound like a familiar scene? Ensure that you make it to and through the Michael Wood Band’s show and you’ll see why this band is turning heads around the world. Wood and Weed both say that they have a European following and that they hope to get out that way to do a tour at some point as well.
Occupy This is an astoundingly good album. The fab four, comprised of Weed and Wood on vocals and guitars, Jon Baergen on bass and vocals and Alex Campbell on drums and vocals, have produced a modern-sounding rock album with catchy lyrics and hooks. Weed and Wood, both big Mother Mother fans, have ideas for their next release, which they say is currently in the works.
“I’d like to get a heavier, more analogue and roots-y sound to our next album; heavier but not darker,” says Wood, adding that they would like to release their Hendrix-inspired cover of “All Along the Watchtower.” Weed would like to up the tempo a bit to make it better for dancing.
And despite the politically-charged title of their album, both band members shy away from too much political advocacy, saying that it can take away from the music itself when not preached to the right crowd. Regardless there are hints of angst and socio-political awareness on the album, such as in “Should We Be Afraid” which is about the Arab Spring movement that took place in Egypt. Currently Wood is immersed in philosophy classes at the University of Victoria and Weed is a self-professed science and scepticism nerd, so time may tell where that will lead their music but for now it provides a firm basis and mature understanding of critical observance required for solid songwriting.
Give them a listen at: themichaelwoodband.bandcamp.com