Really quick, for any of you reading this right now that have seen Will Wood and the Tapeworms perform live before, holy fuck, right? If you know already, there’s not much else to say besides that. The rest of you are seriously missing out. But that’s okay. I’m here to help.
Will Wood and the Tapeworms have truly mastered the art of the live performance. They have an incredibly theatrical approach to the stage, wearing flamboyant outfits and face paint. Almost all of the band members seem to have adopted on-stage personas that are caricatures of themselves. I’m assuming that these guys can’t be as jacked up and dialed in 24/7 as they are during performances, unless they’re doing all the cocaine. Like, ALL the cocaine.
Will Wood breaks all the stereotypes of what a keyboard-playing front man can be. In fact, his proficiency on the keys, while outstanding, is probably the least impressive trait of his as a performer. Wood’s presence is absolutely mesmerizing from the moment he takes his seat behind the keyboard and locks onto the audience with all three of his eyes (the third painted on his forehead). He’s continuously engaging throughout the set, never needing to stop and catch his breath or collect his thoughts. During the songs, he’s screaming his lungs out, flailing his arms, kicking his legs, fingers moving up and down the keys so fast you can barely see them, and in between songs he’s kicking off his heels, climbing on top of his keyboard, and yelling to all, “Here’s your Snapchat opportunity!”
Wood breaks into completely unfiltered personal anecdotes about times he’s had trouble with cops or how he used to do lots of drugs. Personally, I’ve had acid trips that didn’t come close to taking me on the trip that Will Wood and the Tapeworms’ performance did (That’s not true, mom. I’ve never done acid.).
It would be reductive to try to classify their sound. I guarantee that it’s unlike anything you’ve ever heard before, but the individuality doesn’t come from simply changing up traditional song structure or from off-beat syncopation. The Tapeworms write songs almost in a swing or polka style, but through the use of some kind of dark magic, unknown to mortals like you and I, make them kick so much fucking ass. Multiple times throughout the set, saxophonist David Higdon jumps off the stage to mosh in the crowd, while ripping off a hardcore tenor sax solo.
“What the fuck?”
Yes, that’s a perfectly reasonable reaction to have, as I never thought myself that I would be caught in a saxophone-inspired mosh pit while the saxophone was being played in the center of it, and it’s the extent of this deconstruction of the traditional standards where Will Wood and the Tapeworms thrive. Their music and their performance is so creatively unrestrained. Their creativity is the antithesis of formulaic, artistically devoid, shallow bullshit, and as a band they unapologetically rise above it. The point isn’t that they make a keyboard, saxophone, and upright base rock ‘n roll. It’s rock ‘n roll because they couldn’t give a flying fuck what you call it.
And still, for all there is to be said about the miraculous live performance, you’d be remiss to not check out the studio albums. Selfish and Everything is a Lot are both available in Spotify and Bandcamp and are probably about as addicting as ALL the cocaine.
Adam gave man-birth to N.J. Racket and is as close to an "editor-in-chief" the site has. He's a god awful photographer.