September 29, 2015 Good Old War Bring Fun To Revolution Music Hall Amityville, NY 9-14-15
Acoustic titans Good Old War have been quite busy in the Summer of 2015 touring about the US in support of their newest record Broken Into Better Shape. Considered their most polished effort to date, the band, hailing from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, consists of Vocalist Keith Goodwin, Guitarist Dan Schwartz, and Drummer Tim Arnold. Compared to the likes of Simon and Garfunkel from a harmonic standpoint, Good Old War has been on the scene since 2008, touring with the likes of Circa Survive’s Anthony Green, among many others. Now having the chance to headline, the band made a trip out to Amityville, New York on Long Island Monday, September 14th, to host a show in front of a fully energized crowd at Revolution Bar & Music Hall. For a show on a Monday, it felt like the weekend from the fun and geeky dance moves to the consistent rush of good vibes that were felt the moment the night began with opening acts King Neptune and Peter Hill.
Beginning with King Neptune, formerly known as NGHBRS, the show began with a roar of excitement. Coming from the Long Island area, the band felt right at home at a venue they were more than familiar with. Directly after, another Philly native, Peter Hill, took the stage. An Indie artist, Hill released the album The Bullet Tree in 2014 and was happy to take to the road with Good Old War. Performing a set of his original tunes, the audience immediately were taken in by the singer-songwriters honest approach. Mixing an array of styles that ranged from straight-up Rock, to Folk, to even some Punk flare, Hill did a fine job with the time he was given on stage.
Moving right along, the generous size crowd cheered in appreciation as Good Old War opened with one of their first hits from their 2008 debut record, Only Way to Be Alone: “Coney Island,” a fun ditty about the love/hate relationships for places people grew up around. From the start, it became clear that Good Old War, whose name is based on a combo of all of their last names, were completely in sync and in tune with the music and what they want to convey. Goodwin was seen dancing in his own fun and dorky way on stage, and it became extremely hard to want to avoid the fever that is their music, which is quite contagious.
They continued on with their set by playing some of their songs from their 2010 self-titled sophomore album, such as “My Own Sinking Ship;” a little folky ballad of love and finding closure at the ending of a relationship. Some of the following songs included two from the self- titled, including their second hit from that record, “Looking for Shelter,” and “Just Another Day;” a fast-paced poppy tune that helped Good Old War get a name in the mainstream scene. Goodwin received fun and positive responses, and every time he had something fun to say, the show began to feel more intimate, as if this night was all of the audience and the band’s best kept secret; similar to being amongst friends. They followed with their latest hit single “Tell Me What You Want from Me,” a very Pop-like head-bopping tune with some Electro tinge behind it, showing they have certainly grown with adding darker synth tones to this record.
Balancing the set, “That’s Some Dream” showed the band finds comfort in passing on with no regrets, and they hold true to that philosophy when they perform. As Goodwin and Schwartz dance around like wild-men on the stage, they seem to just let it all go and move where the music took them. They proved they do not need any special lighting or backdrops. They just need their wacky, fun selves and their glorious talent. “Calling Me Names” was their next choice on their from 2012’s Come Back As Rain, another quirky fun song about not letting the, as Goodwin described, “haters” in a person’s life bother them.
Keeping the party going was “Woody’s Hood Boogie Woogie” with its reminiscent 1950’s Sock Hop style riffs, the audience continued banging and swinging their heads with good vibes. Schwartz showed his strengths as an acoustic guitarist in his ability to distinctly separate a main hook from the chords behind it, and make it apparent enough for the audience to hear it. He also was also full of vim and vigor as he jumped around the stage egging the crowd on to sing along. After a newer track, called “Never Gonna See Me Cry,” they perform their hit “Weak Man,” off of their debut which they collaborated on with Anthony Green. Everyone shouted and roared as the song began with the audience’s immediate recognition of the opening riff, and their voices became highly recognizable in the room as they belted the words out.
They were almost at an end as they performed their second hit off of Come Back As Rain, entitled “Better Weather,” full of optimism. Good Old War continued to show their true musicianship as they played the song “Loud Love,” which showcases each trio member’s voice on its own, including Arnold, which is gruff, yet soft and soothing, and Schwartz’s, which is soft and humbling to the ears. It became a sing-along for the audience as the motive, “If you love me, won’t you let me go,” is repeated. For Good Old War, this would have been a perfect way to close the set, but of course, there was more.
Good Old War has always had a reputation of wanting to get up close and personal with their audience, and they did just that in Amityville for an epic finale. They stepped out into the middle of the crowd and played some songs with just Schwartz’s guitar and their vibrant harmonies alone. They started with the woeful tune “That’s What’s Wrong,” which questions the change of a long lost love over the years, and to hear their harmonies without microphones, was just as pleasing to the ears, and even more soothing. It became more apparent as they stood in front of the audience that they are skilled at meshing together harmonically and their personalities seem to match and balance each other out. From Goodwin’s spontaneity; to Schwartz’s ability to keep the music together; to Arnold’s look of calm and collected, they are all down for the ride.
They followed the unplugged encore with “Broken Record,” a song off of the recent release, which has a more jumpy vibe and carries that forward acoustically as well. By this point, the audience were calling out requests, and the band seemed to take one particular one into consideration; a soft melancholy, swinging song called “Maybe Mine,” off of their debut. Goodwin looked at the girl who requested the track and stated how he would try to remember the lyrics, and of course, the audience helped him fill the gaps that he thought he had missing.
After the amazing show, the band stuck around to talk to almost everyone that came up to them. They are a group of musicians that will always plays shows because they love it. They all grew up in different bands until Arnold and Goodwin met for their group, Days Away, and they have grown up a lot since then. At this point, they are all are either engaged or married, and some with kids, but at their core, all they want to do is play music. This is why everyone loves Good Old War, and as an audience, they all felt the love in Amityville.