Good Old War (12/3)

December 9, 2009

Thursday night was Good Old War’s first headlining show ever, at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn. It was one of the most enjoyable shows I’ve been to in months. Every band that played was fantastic in their own way.

Gabriel the Marine played first, and I was most impressed with their electric violinist, whose form was impeccable. It was truly inspiring to watch him switch from mellifluous legato to crisp staccato in every song, and his style was very creative. Hezekiah Jones had a violinist as well, but her style was completely different, to fit their folky sound. Though she sounded good, something went wrong with her instrument in the middle of their third song, making her unable to play for a good amount of the rest of their set. Nevertheless, the band sounded awesome, and had an upright bassist, which I loved. Cast Spells was next – the solo project of Maps & Atlases’ Dave Davison, joined by Good Old War as his band. There was no denying their chemistry together on stage, and the songs sounded great. I was excited to hear “Letters,” a song off the new Good Old War/Cast Spells split EP.

Finally came Good Old War to the stage, with a new confidence I have never before seen in them. It was a good kind of confidence, the type that makes you smile when you see it, and think about how far a band has come since they first started.

1. Tell Me
2. Window
3. Just Another Day
4. I’m Not For You
5. Maybe Mine
6. We’ve Come A Long Way
7. Get No Time
8. Texas Blues
9. Breaking Down
10. Looking for Shelter
11. Get Some
12. Weak Man
13. Coney Island

It was the longest set I’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing them play, and the best, too; especially on Dan’s part. You can always tell how good a guitarist is based on not only their familiarity with scales and theory, but also their ability to take that knowledge and turn it into something different and creative that puts an audience in awe. Dan Schwartz is without a doubt that kind of guitarist, and it’s always amazing to watch him switch from playing acoustic to electric in the middle of songs. At the same time, he’s also one of the most modest musicians I’ve ever talked to. There’s nothing more refreshing than someone so talented being as down to earth as that man is.

Good Old War’s vocal harmonies sounded better than ever, and they changed up a lot of songs off of Only Way to be Alone to make the set a little bit different from past ones. The three new songs that they played (Texas Blues, Breaking Down, and Get Some) showed off a new side of the band, and made me appreciate them even more. Smooth tempo transitions, unique guitar licks, and quite a few genres thrown together.

I couldn’t be more satisfied with the way these guys continue to write music that I could never find unappealing.


what i miss…

August 6, 2009

Right now, as I lie in a bed that is not my own in a family friend’s basement in Chicago, I can’t help but feel a great sense of nostalgia, thinking about the show I went to exactly one year ago that forever changed my feelings about music; Anthony Green, Good Old War, and Person L at Starlight Ballroom in Philadelphia.

Not only was I turned on to Person L and Good Old War (two of my favorite bands now), but I was exposed to a completely different kind of show from all the ones I had previously been to.

Feet away from me, I saw Anthony Green standing backstage, dancing like a child and singing along to Person L. He was air drumming and stamping his feet and laughing; I couldn’t help but watch and smile. That’s when I realized he was just like me; a lover of music, cheering for a band that really knew how to impress a crowd. And it was fine to walk right past the security guard and introduce myself; it was fine to ask questions. The most rewarding part of all was the reciprocation of question asking, and the fact that he listened when I answered him. He was in no hurry to end the conversation, looked me in the eye the entire time, and most of all, cared. I had never really had that experience while talking to a band member before, and it mattered so much to me since he was the musician I looked up to most.

On stage, he talked about nightmares he had at night and how nervous he had been for the tour, but how comfortable he felt right then, talking to all of us. It was as if we all were his friends, and he even said so at one point. It was the first time at a show that I was able to truly connect with the person behind the microphone.

We’re all the same.

AG 026

Co-Headlining Tour

July 3, 2009

I’m so psyched for this tour; As Tall As Lions, Dredg, and RX Bandits, July 30th, Irving Plaza.¬†Though I’m going primarily for ATAL, who are only opening, I’m also really looking forward to seeing Dredg and RX Bandits as co-headliners. I just wish Good Old War were also playing the date I’m going..

Having mentioned Good Old War, I must say how incredible it is to watch their popularity grow, see their music spread as much as it has. Having listened to them since the start of their band, it’s a great thing to watch them succeed as much as they are. I’ve yet to meet a person who’s heard their music that doesn’t like it, probably because it’s impossible not to fall in love with their vocal harmonies.¬†Bands of every genre seem to want them on their tour now, and I couldn’t be more happy for them; Dan, Keith, and Tim are great guys who really deserve it, and I look forward to all they have to offer in the future to us listeners; beautiful things are coming.