Wooster
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Wooster

Santa Cruz, California, United States

Santa Cruz, California, United States
Rock Soul

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"Santa Cruz’s Wooster Unveils New Album"

A local band that shows up regularly on Best of Santa Cruz lists, Wooster has caused a sensation in both California and...Guam? Yup, the video for the song “Ooh Girl” has received hundreds of thousands of hits on YouTube, and a good deal of the traffic is coming from the little island.

According to bassist Bobby Hanson, the song was being played on the radio next to Adele and “whatever else was popular six months ago.”

“We got really lucky with ‘Ooh Girl,’” he says. “They love it in Guam, and the video just blew up.”

So what does a band do when they’re big in Guam? They go there, of course. The day after I spoke with Hanson, he and the band left to play a string of shows at Ralphy’s Lounge in Hagatna, Guam. When they return home, they’ll be celebrating the release of the brand new Wooster album, If All the Dew Were Diamonds, with performances throughout California.

A band with a groove-driven, rocking sound, Wooster tends to get the slash treatment when being described: rock/reggae/funk/soul/dance/etc. Rather than being symptomatic of a vague style, the inability to pin Wooster down to one genre is a testament to the variety of musical influences that each member brings to the band. Collectively, Wooster has roots in punk, funk, jazz, folk, soul, hip-hop and more, and the members (Brian Gallagher, guitar, vocals; Caroline Kuspa, vocals; Zack Donoghue, guitar; Hanson, bass; Nate Fredrick, drums) rely on an organic songwriting process that draws from everyone’s unique musical angle.

This Saturday, Wooster will play a CD release party for their new record at Moe’s; the ticket price also includes a copy of the album. The name of the album is taken from John Steinbeck’s Tortilla Flat. In the book, two hungover paisanos, with not a penny to their names, find the beauty in the morning dew sparkling on the grass. When asked about the connection between the name of the album and the band’s big-picture perspective, Hanson says, “We may not be millionaire rock stars on Cribs just yet, but we have a strong musical force that drives us. It’s what has kept us together as a band and kept the drive to share our music with everybody, and rock as hard as we can, going.” - Santa Cruz Weekly


"Harder, Better, Faster, Wooster"

Local band sets its sights on Guam, then the world

On the eve of Wooster’s CD release show, GT spoke with rhythm guitarist/vocalist Brian Gallagher about the local band’s new album, If All The Dew Were Diamonds, their popularity overseas, and the inspirations behind their rock/soul/reggae amalgam.

GOOD TIMES: I hear Wooster’s going to Guam…

BRIAN GALLAGHER: Yeah, we’re playing five shows in early October. I’m excited. Apparently “Ooh Girl” is one of the top requested songs over there. I don’t know exactly how that happened. There are also 17 or 18 covers of it on YouTube.

Have you ever been to Guam before?

I have not. I don’t think anyone in the band has. I’m 6’3”, so spending 14 and a half hours in a plane is a little bit of a bummer, but there’s a big music community over there, so I’ll do it for them.

What’s the most exciting part of the trip?

The shows. I don’t know what to expect, but I’m excited and little anxious. “Ooh Girl” is a great song and I’m very proud of it, but we play a lot of other genres too, so we hope people like it.

What three things are must-haves on tour?

Our No. 1 thing is our drummer, Nate [Frederick]. He’s Mr. Fix It, he’s MacGyver. He can rebuild the van engine, he can make me a guitar strap out of a string—he’s unstoppable. The second thing is our tour binder from Jen, our tour manager. And then, I guess, our merch.

some bands give odd answers to that...

Yeah, [laughs], we know a band called Doug that always brings a Shake Weight.

How did Wooster form?

Wooster formed in 2007. I played volleyball at UCSC and then I coached at Harbor High. Caroline [Kuspa] was on my first volleyball team [at Harbor]. We ended up singing together. I knew Zach [Donoghue], who also played volleyball at UCSC. And so we all went into the studio with Bobby [Hanson] and Nate, a Santa Cruz all-stars rhythm section, and they ended up staying on. It’s all still original members, which is unique.

How has the band transformed over time?

Our live shows have gotten so much more professional and tighter. We’re more into it and freer on stage. When we first started, it was exciting and also stressful. Now, it’s like you grab your suitcase and go to work. But it’s what we love to do most in the world.

Was it your goal to play many genres?

No, it’s always just been about, ‘How can we write the best possible music?’ We have diverse interests, and Caroline can sing pretty much anything. I’ll hear a Black Keys song one day and want to do something like that, or I’ll hear a hip-hop song and want to do that. It’s weird for a band to only produce one vibe, especially when there’s so much music out there.

What inspired this album?

Everyone in the band would say something different. But for me, the last song, “Day I Die”—it’s a song about my grandfather who passed away—it was the one song I needed to get out.

Where did the album name come from?

It’s a “Tortilla Flat” quote from [John] Steinbeck. There are two paisanos sitting on a stoop, and one says, “If all the dew were diamonds, we would be very rich. We would be drunk all our lives.” I wrote a thesis on it in college. It’s a lot like Wooster—just as they believe that sitting on a porch is as good as it gets, being on the road, that’s the best part [for us]. It’s rough, but we’re stoked.

What will the album release show be like?

Our last release show was an insane blowout. We rented a huge backdrop and dressed like Team Zissou from The Life Aquatic. There was a photo booth and the tickets were 3D glasses. We want to make it even better. There will be a similar vibe, you know—smoke, lights, glamour. - Good Times Santa Cruz


"Wooster"

The importance of little things is not lost on Brian Gallagher. The lead singer of Wooster, one of several bands performing on at the July 28th Underwater Music Festival in Gig Harbor, appreciates the magic moments in life. And for his Santa Cruz-based rock-reggae-soul band, it is seemingly the little things that end up making a big difference in the band’s fortunes.
The importance of appreciating little things is a theme that gets top billing on Wooster’s upcoming CD If All the Dew Were Diamonds, the followup to their 2009 debut The Heights of Things. The title comes from the 1935 John Steinbeck novel Tortilla Flat, in which one of the characters muses that “if all the dew were diamonds, we would be very rich.”
“In reality, all the dew is diamonds,” Gallagher observes.”You don’t need a lot of money to have riches in life. And as a musician or an artist trying to make something out of nothing,” he adds, “ you have to stop and appreciate the golden moments and beautiful things in life.”
The invitation to play the Underwater Music Festival was one of those moments, growing out of a connection that developed when Wooster was a finalist in the Ford Company’s national battle of the bands competition “Gimme the Gig” won by Gig Harbor’s Perry Acker, one of the driving forces behind the festival. Wooster’s appearance at last year’s festival enabled them to play a small bar in Olympia, the probable point of sale of a Wooster album, later left in the CD player of a used car sold to a young woman, giving birth to a growing fan base in Olympia, where Wooster will play on Sunday the 29th.
Wooster (the name originates from the street in New York’s artsy SoHo neighborhood where Gallagher lived as a child) blends bluesy rock and soul with reggae and funky grooves and the powerful emotive vocals of co-lead singer Caroline Kuspa to create its signature sound.
“It’s hard to define us because we switch genres from song to song and sometimes even within the same song,” says Gallagher, the group’s primary songwriter. “But the strength of the music is that the vocals and lyrics and and vibe can carry the song. I love looking out in the crowd and seeing people mouthing the lyrics.”
Their catchy song “Ooh Girl”, about an unlikely “hookup” at a dinner party, has a lot of people singing along, earning substantial airplay on internet radio, generating about 200,000 views of the song’s video on YouTube, and to the band’s great surprise, creating the group’s biggest fan base outside their Santz Cruz home base, on the island of Guam, where Internet radio is very popular.
Wooster’s sound has matured and stripped down since its first release, which included 11 musicians. They now perform and record as a quintet that includes Gallagher and Kuspa along with drummer Nate Fredrick, bassist Bobby Henson and lead guitarist Zack Donoghue.
“The first album was done the day we met,” Gallagher recalls. “Since then, we’ve really gotten to know each other and become good friends. The first album has a lot of heart and soul, but it was done at time when we were figuring things out. Now we’ve got it figured out.”
The Guam experience affirms Gallagher’s belief that the most important thing for them to do is get themselves heard. They plan to tour nationally in support of their sophomore CD to reach as many ears as they can.
“Good music spreads itself,” he says. “All it takes is for someone to hear it and love it so much they share it with their friends. I think people can really hear the passion in the music.”
The July 28 Underwater Music Festival is one of the largest free music festivals in the Northwest and the only on-water festival in the Puget Sound. Bands perform on a floating barge near Dead Man’s Island; listeners gather in the Sound on yachts, sailboats, jetskis and inflatable boats. Wooster also performs Friday, July 27 at the Hi-Fidelity Lounge in Bremerton.
- Weekly Volcano


"Wooster"

Take Mraz' penchant for pop-reggae rhythms, add a little Dave Matthews vocals and rock instrumentation and a little bit of Johnson's laid-back surf grooves and you have an approximation of Wooster's sound.

No wonder this band has become one of the more popular Santa Cruz bands with a horn-driven sound that appeals equally to the reggae, jam band and indie rock 'n' soul crowds.

The crowd favorite "Ooh Girl" will burrow its way into your head and stay there all summer if you let it. - Mac McDonald
- Monterey Herald


"Wooster on the rise"

The story of the band called Wooster has a couple radically different starting points, one shrouded in murkiness and mystery and another that is all sunshine and song.

Technically it all began in the back of a limousine on a New York City street 28 years ago. The details are a little unclear, but we know this much – there was a gunfight, a young painter and his extremely pregnant wife raced to a hospital, and a boy named Brian Gallagher was born.

Gallagher, the lead singer and songwriter for Wooster, confirms this much.

“I was born in New York, there was definitely a gunfight in the street…took a limo to the hospital, popped out early,” Gallagher said. “Yeah. And I got narcolepsy and I got a lazy eye…It’s all true.”

His father is the painter Michael Gallagher, which explains something about his son’s abstract beginnings. Gallagher is one of the leading lights of Abstract Illusionism and held court for several years in a SoHo loft in New York City before heading west to California.

And so this brings us to a beach in Santa Cruz ten years ago. Young Brian Gallagher had taken to California in a big way, becoming a star volleyball player who would eventually play for the University of California Santa Cruz. At 18, he’d also already begun coaching volleyball. At a team event on the beach one day, he pulled out his guitar and started playing. One of his players, a 13-year-old named Caroline Kuspa, unexpectedly raised her voice in song and sang along.

Everybody on the beach stopped in their tracks.

“It was one of those jaw-dropping moments,” Gallagher recalled. “She is really good – the kind of voice that attracts people like bugs to a light. People can’t get enough of it.”

Thus, in a sense, was Wooster born. Formally, the band wouldn’t come together for another eight years or so. Kuspa and Gallagher sang together off and on even after she left Santa Cruz to study classical music and vocals at UC Davis. In 2006, Gallagher decided to make a record, and somewhere along the line he and Kuspa were joined in the studio by Santa Cruz’s premier rhythm section, bassist Bobby Hanson and drummer Nate Fredericks. Guitarist Zack Donahue rounded out the posse, and suddenly Wooster had risen.

“Bobby and Nate were the big guns in Santa Cruz,” Gallagher said. “They played every band. Now they are just playing in Wooster…All five of us had one magical recording studio moment and everyone was like, ‘Alright, we are a band now.’”

The band’s debut album, The Heights of Things, was released in 2009. A buzz about the band has been steadily building ever since. Several things set Wooster apart. Gallagher’s writing is infused with a hip-hop sense of rhythm and story, and he sings with a coolness and ease that somehow combines the urgency of his New York beginnings with the more laid-back vibe of Santa Cruz. Kuspa, on the other hand, sings like the wind. As a whole, the band swings with an almost jazz-like intensity while crossing musical terrains that include reggae, soul, and straight-up infectious pop.

Critics have struggled to place Wooster in a particular genre. They play jazz festivals and have been described variously as reggae rock and neo-soul.

“We’ve had a really hard time with that, for sure,” Gallagher said. “So many times people come up and say, ‘So what kind of music is this?’ Usually we just say, ‘Loud.’”

Their new single, “Take It Easy,” encapsulates the band’s emerging sound. Kuspa’s languid lash of a voice is front and center, horns billow in the background, an organ surges underneath, and suddenly the entire song lurches joyously into dancehall ska beat before rounding back into rock n’ roll territory.

“It’s kind of a crazy track in that it goes through three different phases and has all those different sections to it,” Gallagher said. “It’s cool to have Caroline singing lead, too…if you listen to the first album, Caroline comes across as kind of a background singer or someone who pokes through occasionally. But nowadays she is definitely taking a much bigger role, singing leads and doing at least half of the singing.”

“Some songs that I write I love and really want to play, but then once I hear her take a shot at it and sing it, I’m like, ‘Alright, it’s yours. I can’t do that.’”

What he can do is write. Gallagher gets things into songs that don’t normally get sung. Take the song “Three Legged Dog”, which includes one of the great lines of modern times: “I got a heart like a three legged dog/and no, it don’t sleep/ unless it’s laying in the street/on that cold concrete.” The song, it turns out, was inspired by a real three-legged dog and heartbreak.

“I work construction up here. I am a carpenter,” Gallagher said. “I drive to work every day, so I was on the same job site and the neighbor’s dog had three legs but it only would sleep in the street – like, he only wanted to be in the street. He would be in front of their house every single morning laying in the street. And - Easy Reader


"Santa Cruz reggae-rockers Wooster take charismatic lineup to McKinleyville Sunday"

Santa Cruz reggae-rockers Wooster take charismatic lineup to McKinleyville Sunday

Enthusiastically bursting from an expanding young Santa Cruz music scene, soulful reggae-rockers Wooster will bring their funky and intriguing selves to play a free show at Six Rivers Brewery in McKinleyville this Sunday night.

It's impossible not to get hooked on this group after listening to them or talking with them. One member just married into royalty, another is a modern-day MacGyver. A couple of them are straight-up brilliant, while another just majored in classical vocals. Their frontman epitomizes the charismatic swagger required of a true leader. Each member truly brings something special and addictive to the table.

”We needed to be a band,” said Brian Gallagher, Woosters' frontman (guitar/vocals). “We slowly worked and redefined our lives to make Wooster a reality.”

Redefinition? Wooster formed in 2006 after Gallagher went into the studio to put out a solo release. He completed that studio experience three years later with new friends and a seven-member band. Wooster's debut album, “The Heights of Things,” was the result. The frontman phrased the band's formation perfectly, calling it a “magical chemistry.”

The chilled-out reggae-rock album boasts top-notch harmonious vocal talent, skilled musicianship, emotional lyrics, open-mindedness and fierce authenticity. The production doesn't suck, either. It's a


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beginning-to-end type of listening experience, which is a rarity today.
”It's just amazing to see complete strangers singing along to the songs,” Gallagher said.

”I've had a lot of people tell me how they can listen to the whole album all the way through and that there aren't many albums they'd prefer to listen to like that,” said Bobby Hanson, Wooster's bassist.

Hanson recently married into royalty when he wed Princess Victoria Galitzine. It's true, she's actually a British princess.

”The amount of positive feedback we've gotten from the song 'Ooh Girl' has really stood out for me,” said Caroline Kuspa, Wooster's classically trained vocalist. “When we made the record it was hard to say if there was a single, but our fans just really picked up on that song, in particular, the quickest.”

Kuspa recently graduated from University of California, Davis as a classical vocal major.

”Artists I am listening to can influence me -- the timber of their voice, vocal strength, the size of their range, the attitude in their voice and the emotion they express in their voice and body and face,” Kuspa said.

The talented and technically focused Kuspa's vocal influences include Beyonce Knowles, Bonnie Raitt, Neko Case, Stevie Nicks, Niki Minaj, Ke$ha and Eminem. Her partner in harmony, Gallagher, is influenced by grittier and expressive rock voices like Tom Waits, Otis Redding, Robert Plant and Junior Reed.

The vocal dynamics of Wooster are accompanied by skilled minds and considerable musical talent on the guitar, drums, bass, keyboards and trumpet. The band's drummer, Nate Fredrick, recently graduated as the top student in the psychology department at California State University, Hayward.

”Nate's also the MacGyver of the band,” Gallagher said. “He once made me a strap out of broken guitar strings and duct tape minutes before a show.”

Interestingly enough, that's not even close to the end of these band-members' fascinating personalities.

”Zack not only works at the premier cannabis collective in San Jose, but he also has a near photographic memory -- think Russell Crowe from 'A Beautiful Mind' meets Cheech from 'Up In Smoke'.”

”I'm a left-handed narcoleptic with a lazy eye,” Gallagher said. “It's true...sad, but true. I'm also a romantic, a bartender and a carpenter born in the back of a limo during a gunfight in the dirty streets of NYC -- also true...yeah, no seriously it's true.”

Hoping to spend more time perfecting songs before hitting the studio, Wooster will work on their sophomore album this fall after a full summer of touring. They're hoping for a spring 2012 release.

At the free show in McKinleyville on Sunday, Wooster will also have two singles available for purchase, released as a cassette and digital download. Check 'em out before you go, they have a ton of awesome music streaming for free at woosterband.com.


Reggae, soul, rock, funk and blues: As a band can you pick one legend you look up to in each of those genres?

Reggae: Bob Marley

Soul: Marvin Gaye

Rock: The Black Keys

Funk: James Brown

Blues: BB King


If you go:

What: Wooster

Where: Six Rivers Brewery, 1300 Central Ave., McKinleyville

When: 9 p.m. Sunday

Admission: Free

- Tri-City Weekly


"Wooster"

Wooster
What better way to celebrate the season than groovin’ to some homegrown reggae-soul on the beach? This Wednesday, head down to the Esplanade for the annual Twilight Concert Series, starring Wooster, one of Santa Cruz’ most promising acts—a smoldering blend of bluesy vocals and funky beats, perfect for cozying up to that summer flame. Since the release of their 2009 debut album, The Heights of Things, the septet has seduced a growing number of fans with slow grind “Ooh Girl,” and their latest single “Take It Easy” further proves the band is just getting started. | JENNA BROGAN
INFO: 6-8 p.m. Esplanade Park, 131 Monterey Ave., Capitola. No Cover. - Good Times Santa Cruz


"Wooster"

Their sound may be difficult to define due to the variety of genres and influences, but Wooster continues to draw larger crowds and more fans. Wooster’s sound blends soul, reggae, funk, blues, jazz and bluegrass, just to name a few. The band lacks excessive repetition which keeps their music intriguingly funky. Playing together since the summer of 2007, Wooster has toured all over CA and played many shows in the Santa Cruz area. Their album The Heights of Things varies through each song, highlighting Kuspa’s smooth soulful voice. The reggae-ska inspired riffs make Wooster catchy while maintaining an authentic soulful essence. High energy keys and bursts of trumpet carry the band's groove through each measure of songs like "Froghouse". Gallagher's lyrics as well as the band's name come directly from his life, as mentioned in the song "New York" in regards to 'being born on the corner of 84 Wooster Street.'

Wooster has racked up shows in Santa Cruz and have played at 99 Bottles, The Crepe Place, Moe’s Alley, Cypress Lounge, The Parish, The Crow’s Nest and The Catalyst (Atrium & Main stage). The band’s popularity has also landed them gigs at clubs such as The Viper Room in Hollywood, and The Red Devil Lounge in San Francisco. They draw inspiration from a wide range of musicians like B.B. King, Dispatch, Citizen Cope, Esperanza Spaulding and Beyonce. Wooster’s success tactic seems to be blending as many different music flavors as possible into an extremely smooth and saucy band. "We're very very lucky to have the talent of the musicians we have." -Kuspa

Wooster is currently taking time to write and produce a new album but will still be playing occasional shows. Check the band's tour schedule for updates. Current album 'The Heights of Things' is available through Wooster's web site. - Santa Cruz Waves


"Wooster La Cave"

Like a whiff of fresh air from the north, Wooster takes the stage at underground lounge La Cave to show late-night party people how Santa Cruz does it. With their self-proclaimed “love for the groove,” the band (led by boy/girl vocal duo Brian Gallagher and Caroline Kuspa) walks that finely-tuned line between reggae, funk, and easy acoustic rock. Currently on a coastal California tour and still riding the comet tail of last year’s LP, The Heights of Things, the sometimes 5- sometimes 7-piece ensemble isn’t slowing down anytime soon—they’re already working on a new EP, hopefully to drop this fall. Dirty Heads fans should take a listen to the easy, breezy single “Ooh Girl”—perfect for these end-of-summer nights. - OC Weekly


"WOOSTER AND YUNG MARS"

Fronted by the dynamic Caroline Kuspa and anchored by a cast of local music stalwarts, Wooster has risen to the top of Santa Cruz's party band pile. Reaching deep into blues, soul and vintage reggae, the band adds its own charge to sounds that would come across as dated in less capable hands. Wooster appears at this launch party for beeets.com, a new Santa Cruz–based startup that aims to make show planning easier and more convenient; the founders optimistically describe it as a "Google for shows." Robo-funkster MC Yung Mars rounds out the bill with his consciousness-raising hip-hop. Crepe Place; Price TBD; 8pm. (Paul M. Davis) - Santa Cruz Weekly


"Studio to stage, Wooster slinks into The Cat"

There’s something addictive about Wooster’s music. Clever lyrics, sweet male-female harmonies and laid-back beats combine to make you want to listen to more and more while your feet move with the rhythm.

Nothing about the sound screams studio-born, but that’s where Wooster’s lineage lies. The band, performing March 26 in The Catalyst’s Atrium, got its start at Santa Cruz’s Gadgetbox studios.

It was there that singer-songwriter Brian Gallagher recorded his first acoustic CD, a five-song gift for family and friends.

“Everyone liked it so much that I thought, ‘Wow, maybe I should really try to do a full length CD with a full band,’” said Gallagher, who works as a bartender at the Harbor Cafe. “It took me three years to get it all done, but I met the right people and made the right moves and it all happened.”

The right people included another newbie to the art of the band (local singer Caroline Kuspa, a music major at UC Davis) and five seasoned players (bassist Bobby Hanson, drummer Nate Frederick, piano/organ man Gianni Staiano, trumpeter Dustin Hengl and guitarist Zack Donoghue). Hengl plays regularly with Willie Nelson. Frederick, a professional on the skins since age 14, started with local punk band Jetlag. Staiano is a member of 7 Come 11, as well as a local music teacher. Hanson recently did a national tour with serendipity project. Donoghue is a founding member of the reggae-rock band Epicure.

“It’s fun to have people to really push you as a performer,” said New York-born Gallagher, who grew up in Newport Beach, Calif. “All those guys have such superior confidence because they’ve done it so many times, and they know what they need to do to perform well.”

Wooster —named after the arty street in SoHo, New York, where Gallagher and his family once lived — released its first CD, The Heights of Things this past November. The group heads back into the studio next month to start work on its second album.

Many of Wooster’s current songs tell stories. “Ooh Girl” recounts meeting a girl at a party. “Three Legged Dog” is in some ways the aftermath, a song about where a relationship is headed.

Lyrics like “I’ve been looking for long-term investment, that’s what the sex meant” show off Gallagher’s attention to scansion, legacy from his years as a writing major at UC Santa Cruz. Writing with the band has been a process of letting go for the songwriter.

“I’ve given up that total control [in songwriting] because I know I trust all of the players,” he said. “I’m the spark, but everyone else is the catalyst.”

Though the rhythms he used as an acoustic guitar player remain at the core of many songs, the talents of the band have allowed the sound to expand cross-genre. Kuspa excels at melody, Gallagher said, and has added a lot to the works. The band’s sound — a mix of reggae, rock and bluesy soul — is constantly evolving.

“It’s a really big sound, it’s sonically moving on a physical level and an emotional level. You can really feel the bass, the crack of the drums, the high end of the trumpet. It’s completely encompassing,” he added.

The band were recently interviewed by KPIG’s Sleepy John and will be featured March 25 on 88.1 FM KZSC’s Joy in the Morning. Besides The Catalyst, Wooster appears in April at The Crepe Place and in June at Moe’s Alley. They are in the midst of booking a summer tour along the California coast.

“I definitely have ambitions and big dreams of becoming a touring band successfully making money,” Gallagher said. “We’re shooting for the moon.”

Wooster in The Catalyst’s Atrium, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. Door open at 8:30 p.m., show starts at 9 p.m. March 26. $10 in advance, $12 at the door. (831) 423-1338.
- Weekend Santa Cruz


"41st Annual Whole Earth Festival to be held this weekend"

Nothing says "frugality" and "ecological sustainability" better that the 41st Annual Whole Earth Festival (WEF) - a weekend fully equipped with three days of nonstop music, art and education.
The largest green-living event of Davis will take place on and around the quad, featuring local artwork, crafts and live music. This year's theme is "From the Ground UP."
Some of the artwork and sculptures on display will allow festival-goers to touch, build, decorate and even sit on them.
"Since it's such a vibrant festival, I thought it'd be great to have live artists and interactive sculptures," said Maya McNeil, art director of this year's WEF. "I'm looking forward to seeing how people react and appreciate the artwork."
McNeil herself is building a 150-foot labyrinth for the event. Other artists include UC Davis ceramics graduate Cynthia Stepp, whose artwork visually represents abstract thoughts and ideas.
"It's inspiring to see people look into their own creativity. We also have six amazing artists that will be painting live during the entire festival - they'll just kind of go off what they get from the crowd, and paint these shapes," she said.
Harlan Gruber, an artist and New York native, will also be participating in the WEF art events. He is well-known for combining both science and art into his sculptures. Folks will be able to climb, explore and interact with his giant geometrical Amethyst Portal.
And just in case you get overwhelmed with all the massive artwork and crafts, the event will feature live music as well.
"There will be a lot more electronic acts this year, because we're catering to people our age who seem to enjoy electronic music," said Brennen Bird, a WEF director. "In my opinion, the [WEF] brings some of the best music to Davis. I've been introduced to so many bands through this festival."
Almost all of the bands performing are local, due to the festival's tight entertainment budget of $6,000.
"This budget is really nothing if you want to have a three-day music festival, so we have to make do with what we can, and we end up drawing in a lot of local bands because of this," Bird said. "A lot of the bands come for the love of the festival - not because they're interested in getting paid."
Among the performing bands is Wooster, a blues, reggae and rock band from Santa Cruz. They will be performing on Friday at the Cedar Stage.
"We definitely have some Davis roots, and we're big fans of the festival," said Bobby Hanson, who plays bass for the band. "Our music is perfect for the event because you get dancing crowd, and there's always a little something to move to."
Wooster was featured as an opening band at least year's WEF. This year, they will be playing a closing slot. "We're excited to be back, and I'm definitely planning on staying and hanging out afterwards," Hanson said. "So if anybody wants to hang out, come find us."
Hanson said that he is looking forward to the Raw Chocolate Workshop with Joy Taylor. This will take place Friday at 4 p.m. at the Sacred Space.
Another band to look forward to is LYNX and Janover, which consists of the electro-acoustic and hip-hop duo known for their folk-style song writing, beat boxing, and guitar playing rhythms.
Other performances include Boco do Rio, Jake Mann and the Upper Hand, Snowlions and the UC Davis spoken word collective Sickspits Poetry Collective.
The quad itself will also be a host to a variety of vendors selling food, arts and craft. However, this year's event had to reduce its size due to the ASUCD Coffee House construction.
"It's kind of a blessing in disguise. Because of the event's reduction, there will be fewer vendors, meaning that we'll all get a fair mix of the festival's exposure," McNeil said. "The new layout of the festival is going to look different, which will give us room to a lot of new and wonderful things."
Don't forget that there will be tons of live dance and educational booths as well to expand your knowledge on being green and waste consciousness.
"The [WEF] was started with great intentions, and I think that as much as it changes and metamorphoses over the years the staff always finds some way to combine community and world interests at the heart of it," said McNeil. "There's just a lot of art, music and activism for everyone to enjoy."
For more information about the WEF or a complete listing of events, visit wef.ucdavis.edu. To read more about WEF itself, read the Aggie's campus article.
- The California Aggie


"Wooster"

"One of Santa Cruz' liveliest local acts, Wooster has become a crowd favorite in a relatively short period of time. The band kicks on a winning amalgam of blues, soul and reggae anchored by grooves played by crack players who know their way around some elastic funk. The band's secret weapon is vocalist Caroline Kuspa, whose singing chops and emotive power are undeniable. With the band gearing up for the impending release of its eagerly awaited full-length The Heights of Things, expect to hear a lot about Wooster in the months and years to come." - Paul Davis (Mule Train, Santa Cruz Weekly) - Santa Cruz Weekly


"Unsigned Find: Wooster"

Just when you thought you couldn't take any more of that blazing summer heat, a band like Wooster comes along and knocks you right off your feet...and straight into a calming oceanside beach chair with a pina colada in hand.

Well, this may be a slight exaggeration. But, if there were ever a musical equivalent to the aforementioned scenario, Wooster would certainly be it. Hailing from sunny Santa Cruz, California, Wooster (or Brian, Caroline, Bobby, Nate, Zack, Dustin, and Gianni!) incorporates the laid-back vibes of their beach-bordered hometown to create a one-of-a-kind pop sound which infuses blues, soul and reggae. But, if you ask them, Wooster will be the first to admit that they too find it hard to truly define their sound. "People always ask us what kind of music we play," says Bobby "and we're always like well, it's a little rock, a little reggae, with some funky goodness. Truth be told, we're still looking for our genre, it's kind of a Cali- Rock Reggae thing but definitely different than Sublime or Jack Johnson."

Though their genre may be hard to categorize, it doesn't stop Wooster's fans from coming out (in hoards!) to see them play. In addition to gigging at Hollywood's famed Viper Room, the Wooster crew thrilled hometown fans with a recent headlining gig at The Catalyst, Santa Cruz's most historic and popular venue. To top it all off, members of Wooster have shared the stage with industry heavyweights such as Willie Nelson, Jack Johnson, and Brett Dennen.

Even with a whopping SEVEN members in the band, Caroline, who shares lead vocal duties with Brian, is the only girl! While for some, the idea of spending weeks on a small tour bus filled with six male musicians may be daunting, Caroline takes it all in stride. "Being the only girl in Wooster feels special," she says, "On stage I feel lucky because I have an automatic connection with all the ladies in the audience minus the competition that can arise between two female singers. Off stage, I'm kind of like the younger sister!"

So what's next for Wooster? With a new full-length album in the works, there's no doubt that that the future is as bright as the Santa Cruz sun for these six boys. . .and one girl.
- Seventeen Magazine


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

Highlights:

• Released second full length album - "If All the Dew Were Diamonds" in October of 2012

• Song 'New York' used in Pix 11 commercial as well in the 'A New York Minute' episode of Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition on Lifetime.

• Song 'Ooh Girl' hitting #1 on the charts in Guam. First tour of Guam including a five night residency at the hottest club on the island, Ralphy's.

• Made their first trip to Austin, TX for SXSW this past March. Did it totally DIY and had over 10 unofficial showcases.

• One of Wooster’s new tracks being featured in a Universal Audio international promotional video for their new Apollo system which debuted at NAMM 2012

• Securing a monthly showcase at The Boom Boom Room in San Francisco.

• Performing with some of their favorite contemporaries including Rubblebucket, The Bright Light Social Hour and The Hold Up.

• Hitting over 2,500 likes on Facebook and over 100,000 views on Ooh Girl YouTube video.

• Playing numerous summer festivals including Whole Earth, Wordfest, Bask Music, Rocking Roots, ZuhGfest, Capitola Twilight and the Crow’s Nest Beach Party.

• Released their debut full-length album “The Heights of Things” in 2009.

More about the band:

Caroline Kuspa - (Lead Vocals) With a voice coming straight from the depths of her soul, Caroline's singing chops and emotive power will move you. From the most delicate tearful melodies to the sassiest delta blues queen this side of the Mississippi, let's just say Aretha would be proud. Fresh on the stage for the last two years Caroline keeps the crowds filing through the door for more, more, more.

Brian Gallagher - (Vox, Rhythm Guitar) If you wanna know what the music is about, witness Gallagher's emphatic attack of strings and mic. With sonic courage from the strength of the band and a raw honesty in his lyrics, Brian lays it down in loving memory of Sammy Davis and the wet streets of New York City.

Zack Donoghue - (Lead Guitar) Local heartbreaker since the age of 11, Zack brings the sounds of Cali roots straight from the heart of Santa Cruz. Part rock, part skank, and entirely tasteful, his power is in his fresh 'Strat' tone and his ability to fatten up even the thickest of beats. Call it reggae, rock, funk, or hip hop, Zack came to make it sexy.

Bobby Hanson - (Bass Guitar, Guitar) When it comes to Bobby's technical prowess and inventiveness on his instrument it's a matter of interplanetary exploration. He drinks the same milk as Bootsy Collins, and take's his responsibility as 'keeper of the funk' as a professional and lifelong obligation. Bobby is dedicated to the dance floor, and doesn't rest until he can feel the steam from the stage.

Nate Fredrick - (Drums) When the drummer stops a rehearsal to arrange a vocal harmony part, change the key, and suggest a new chord voicing on the guitar, you know you've found percussionary gold. The son of a music teacher, Nate started his professional music career before he started shaving, and continues to impress as a musical and mechanical MaGgyver. Broken down van? Busted Amp? In search of a new song part? Find him a spork, a snap bracelet, and a pair of drumsticks and you're right back on the road.