Joshua Radin & Good Old War Serenade Irving Plaza, NYC 11-5-16

Joshua Radin & Good Old War Serenade Irving Plaza, NYC 11-5-16

Teaming up together for a November 2016 tour, Folk/Acoustic Singer-Songwriter Joshua Radin and Indie Folk favorites Good Old War is a delightful combination. A 10-date run that began November 1st up in Burlington, Vermont, and wrapped up on November 16th out in San Francisco, California, select spots were visited along the way. Amidst the brief road trip, on Saturday, November 5th, Irving Plaza in New York City was ready to be immersed in wonderful acoustic based music experience. With points of romance and serenity intertwined, some surprise guests were in tow, and fans stood with bated breath to see what would happen next.

First up with Philadelphia natives Good Old War. A trio consisting of Vocalist Keith Goodwin, Guitarist Dan Schwartz, and Drummer Tim Arnold, all share a massive harmonic glimmer in each of their tracks. Previously known as Days Away, they had various touring experiences from Anthony Green, among many others in the past. Continuing to support their fourth studio album, 2015’s 10-song collection entitled Broken Into Better Shape, this trio were ready to start a party in New York City.

Opening with “Window,” off of their debut album, 2008’s Only Way to Be Alone, a fast-paced guitar pattern set the tone for the night. Excited to perform, Schwartz eagerly jumped around, while keeping guitar picking skills intact as Goodwin danced around in his own funky way. Following with “Better Weather,” from 2012’s critically acclaimed Come Back As Rain, their hit “Coney Island” came before “My Own Sinking Ship,” a soft  Folk ballad. Keeping the audience enthralled with a list of familiar tracks, “Amazing Eyes” was a showstopper of harmonies, showcasing the band’s versatility, as Arnold played drums and a accordion at the same time.

Getting everyone up and dancing, “Woody’s Hood Boogie Woogie” came across as a feel good songs from the days of Crosby, Stills and Nash. Seamlessly parallel in vocal and musical style as the aforementioned band, Good Old War have also been compared to the likes of Simon and Garfunkel, and the correlations are not inaccurate. That in mind, “Small World” eased in before “Calling Me Names” where Schwartz displayed ability to change from an acoustic guitar to an electric guitar at the drop of a hat.

With the set winding down, they offered single “Tell Me What You Want From Me,” a song which helped their audience collectively converted to understanding and appreciating Good Old War. Exciting to all, they closed out with mostly a capella tune “Loud Love,” where each member had a chance to shine vocally. Going into their nine year as an active band in 2017, Good Old War is certainly on the rise. Taking some time to wind down the rest of 2016 off the road, chances are they will be right back at it in the next few months.

Calm and collected, the crowd awaited for Radin to appear, and with the up-and-coming release his forthcoming album, The Fall, on January 27, 2017, the show was set to truly be a celebration. Radin, a smoky, soulful singer-songwriter from Shaker Heights, Ohio, once called New York City his home, thus he was extremely proud and overwhelmed with enthusiasm to be back.

His stage was lit with dozens of candles, giving off a romantic and intimate vibe. Releasing a slew of material over the past decade plus, he had a lot of ground to cover. Stepping  onto the stage as if he had not a care in the world, he had one goal, to simply convey his message of love in his music. Accompanied by Brandon Walters on guitar, mandolin and keys, as well as Chris Farney on drums and ukulele, Radin simply picked up his guitar and began to play “No Envy No Fear,” a simple sweet song from his appropriately album called Simple Times. A song which uses a mandolin and violins to give it an almost Irish pub feel, at one point during the second chorus, he steped away from the microphone, proving he does not need one to project skills. Following with the hit “Beautiful Day,” the song beams a sense of optimism and perspective in lieu of what he calls his coffee shop vibe.

Moving on, “You Got Growin’ Up to Do” came right out of a heartbreaking story of a girl he knew when he arrived in New York City, at the wrong time, but right place. He spoke of how he recognizes that most of his songs are heard in coffee shops or bookstores, and this cut gives off the feel of sitting down with a warm latte and a good book. Then, “Brand New Day” gave Farney a chance to shine on the drums while also strumming on a ukulele. Going back to 2006, Radin went on to play “Closer” followed by “I’d Rather Be With You,” a lullaby for a girl he loved who suffered from insomnia. One of Radin’s biggest hits, it is soft, easy-going and easy to relate to as many sang the words loudly, making Radin blush a little bit with gratification.

Intertwined into each song, Rabin spoke of moving to New York City and feeling a sense of belonging, unlike Ohio, which he felt a little more isolated. Feeling comfortable in his own skin in the multi-cultured city, he went on with “My My Love,” a song which saw a marriage proposal last time he played it in New York City. Interestingly, Radin discovered that the couple was on hand, still happily engaged. A beautiful discovery, after completing the rendition, he invited Good Old War onto the stage with him to perform “Belong” with him.  More upbeat and easy to dance to, Good Old War joined him in harmonies. Pumped up from the collaboration, Radin declared that he had another friend who was going to join him, and it turned out to be Zach Braff, Scrubs series alumni and Broadway acting aficionado. Causing the audience to go ballistic, they all united to perform Braff’s new single “High and Low,” off of his up-and-coming album.

Shifting the mood again, 2012’s “Underwater” came before Radin paid tribute to the album where he got his start, offering up “Today” and “Winter.” Both off his debut EP, both pieces were soft and sweet, earning his keep in the hearts of New Yorkers. Just when most attendees thought it was over, he came back and did a performance of another new song, “Enough For You,” a light and airy piece which talked of relentless love. Closing out with Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice,” Radin made it his own, completely captivating the audience in the final moments.

Good Old War and Joshua Radin were an excellent match to tour together. Both share the same love for the acoustic guitar and the power of a voice, but also appear to have a brotherly kinship together. With Radin setting his sights on some European gigs the rest of November and December, January 25, 2017 markets the release party at The Troubadour out in Los Angeles, California for The Fall, so pre-order the record now.

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Michele Johnson
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Michele Johnson has been heavily into music since early birth when her father would play video tapes of music videos and she would dance along to them in her crib, and seeing Eric Clapton as her first concert at the age of 8 years old. Her love for music began to fully flourish when she began to take photos of bands in her sophomore year of high school and after her attendance to SUNY Oneonta, with a psychology degree in tow, it became a full passion. During her time at Oneonta, she played in various musical groups including A capella, took part in a club based on the music industry, and heavily developed her love for live music photography. She has gone on to promote her love for music by teaching music to students as young as 4 and as old as 74! Michele tries to go to as many concerts as she can, at most 5-6 times a month, for she needs her live music fix and her photography fix too! Its a high she cannot get off of.

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