November 6 and 7 2020 Morris CT welcomed Goose to South Farms by Miles Hurley. Photos by Jamie Huenefeld
And that’s a wrap, for both South Farms and for five-member Goose, as the jam scene darlings concluded their 2020 fall drive-in concert tour with two back to back nights at the Morris, CT music venue this past weekend. For the venue itself, save for a final solo performance from Warren Haynes on Sunday evening, these were the last shows of a very fruitful season of live music offerings which featured the likes of Grace Potter, The Front Bottoms, moe. and more.
It’s also a wrap on live music for many fans present for these two Goose shows. Speaking with fans in the hours since, many have predicted these final South Farms shows to be their last live experience of 2020, as we head into a potentially cold winter season with a pandemic looming over our heads as much as it has been all year. For a last live musical outing, unanimous consensus among fans seems to be that these final two shows were as top-notch as anything delivered from the band yet.
Highlighted in night number two by a Donnie Darko theme that featured covers of the indie film’s 1980s-heavy soundtrack, Goose’s run at South Farms was a weekend full of debut performances, interesting setlist moves, and certainly lots of improvisation that took the band’s indie-tronica style across moments of jazz, funk, psychedelic rock, and more.
One primary highlight of the entire two-show run was newly added band member Jeff Arevalo, who joins drummer Ben Atkind as second drummer and percussionist. By the time the band hit their “Don’t Do It” cover near the top of night one set two, the mix of power and precision from both drummers working together was a clear sign that adding Arevalo to the group was a smart move. But even when the new guy is not on a second kit, it was little moments, such as the jingling of chimes in “Mad World” (which was very beautifully played by the band) or bongo beats thrown into breakdown sections, that showed he is clearly a professional at this.
Whether Goose fans were coming back to the band after a long time away or returning after other Drive-Ins, their pristine sound certainly sells itself. Goose has an ultra clean approach to this late-night-set meets rock theatre jamming style that every band goes after. Arguably, one of the things that might be working to set them far ahead of the jam scene pack is their polished presentation of sound and color. Jams get frenzied and adventurous for sure, but never seem to be without a sense of decisiveness. But such a steady, glittery hand at jam rock has its rewards, such as the weekend opener “Lily’s Tiger,” the ethereal side-project cover that was quick but quite alluring.
One of this opening night’s biggest moments was the slick, improvisational maneuver from the original “All I Need” into the debut cover of “Secret Agent Man.” Back in the day (which for Goose is only a few years, but given their sharp upward trajectory is a long time for them), the band performed a concert series dubbed Netflox and Chill, and this Halloween makeup weekend was certainly a throwback to those intimate, movie-music experiences. The Johnny Winter classic fit that throwback and was rocked out very well.
With respect to pure songwriting, some Goose originals are a lot better than others, and fascinatingly enough a couple of those in the ‘much better’ category this weekend were debuts of new songs. Most fans that tuned in were fast to pin the award on “Earthling or Alien,” a debut original that, truly yes, was dripping in funk. The song is simple in structure but was an easy platform for the band to really flesh out and lay down some thick solos in round style.
But compositionally-speaking, the clear winner was the other original debut of the weekend, “Seekers On The Ridge Pt. 1 and 2.” Dynamic and unique, and also dramatic, the “Seekers” pair, which hit right near the climax of the weekend in night two set two, impressed big time even before it headed out beyond its main melody and chorus.
If we’re picking out a single performance winner, the weekend seemed like it was all a lead up to the band’s double-hit performance of “Jive I—>Jive II” to conclude the first set of their second night. Other fans may have their objections here, but The Jives reached that once in a while level of liftoff where things get better, and more intense, with each passing half-minute through to the very end.
When the soundboard recordings of these shows become available online (as with most bands these days, especially bands like Goose, it has become a certainty of when and not if) and a listener were to pick out only one slice of the entire weekend to spin, it would have to be those two back to back jams, most definitely.
With South Morris shutting their doors for the season, and with Goose but also most other bands having their final shows of 2020 behind them, it looks like it’s back into live streaming mode for this coming winter. Luckily and gratefully for the fanbase, these weekend’s two night Halloween concluder was a prime sendoff from the jamband quartet.
Get a taste of it with the pro-shot video for “Earthling and Alien” below, which the band just officially released today.
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