It’s no accident that Wooster is one of the most popular bands on the local scene at the moment. Unlike some groups that get together to drink beer and rock out on the weekends, or others that craft complex music for musicians, this fun-loving quintet was assembled by singer/songwriter Brian Gallagher with one, crowd-pleasing goal: get people on the floor. “It’s always good to get the room moving,” Gallagher says. “I’ve always been into music that makes you dance.” Though Gallagher now fronts the ska-tinged, pop-rock outfit—playing rhythm guitar and trading vocal lines with Wooster’s other singer, Caroline Kuspa—he started his musical journey playing drums, and has never lost his percussionist sensibilities. “We really have a strong groove,” Gallagher says. His lust for the beat led him to drummer Nate Fredrick and bassist Bobby Hanson, who together form a rock-solid, no-frills rhythm section—which, in turn, allows Gallagher and Kuspa to experiment with the wandering, lazily interweaving pop harmonies of “Ooh Girl” without fear that their voices will float off into the ether along with lead guitarist Zack Donoghue’s reverb-laden, bubbly chicken picking.
Beyond making music that moves people physically, Gallagher says, “We want to make music that is moving—goosebump music—whatever it is that gets you into that zone where you lose track of everything else.” The band plans to let itself get lost soon—in the studio. Wooster has 20 days booked behind the boards, and this time around, the band is recording without its horn section and aiming for a more straightforward rock sound. The move, like every move the group makes, is calculated and mindful of their audience. “We’ve really put the time in to refine the songs,” Gallagher explains, “to see what works, see what doesn’t, and see what people react to.”
INFO: 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $9/adv, $12/door. 479-1854.