LOCKN’ looked a little different this year, the state of the world being what it is, and when it was all said and done, Peter Shapiro opened the doors of LOCKN’ Farm to three scaled-down mini fests held in consecutive weekends while Goose fulfilled a long-held dream by hosting their first-ever festival on the hallowed grounds of Infinity Farm in Arrington, VA. With an estimated 2,000 people in attendance (compared with upwards of 30,000 in years past), Fred the Festival was one of the easiest festivals in memory as fans were treated to a VIP experience due to the size and intimacy of the event.

Get involved.

As Goose continues to ascend, they’ve stayed true to the values that brought them to this time and place. Going back to 2020’s online Bingo Tour, Goose has creatively encouraged fan participation and the band’s accessibility and innovation are no doubt a large part of their success. Fred Festival played out much the same way as the band organized a full-on color war and outdoor arcade for fans to be right in the action with Teams Don, Fred, Ted, and Larry competing for prizes. So while the online community known as El Göose may have leaned toward trolls, tools, and torch talk, those with boots on the ground indicate a future bright with love, light, and community. Spoiler alert: winning team photographed below.

There was such incredible attention to detail in the curation of this festival, Goose having a direct hand in artist selection as they honored their indie roots and used their influence to bring bands that they follow to the attention of their devoted flock. No two sets were alike–even when bands like Dawes were tapped to play more than once–each style complementing and setting up the acts that would follow.

Grateful Shred opened the musical festivities in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains with a blazing set of Grateful Dead covers. With Southern transplant and L.A. session guitarist Taylor Kropp sitting in for the weekend alongside his new bandmates, the band had a fierce Southern edge that elevated their sound for their first of two sets on the weekend, this one on the main stage.

Grateful Shred – “Franklin’s Tower” (Grateful Dead) – Arrington, VA – 8/20/21 (Partial)

Proto-Goose outfit Vasudo was next to the stage. As Vasudo is essentially primitive Goose and holds a significant number of Goose’s songwriting credits, including but not limited to, rarities and fan favorites like “Empress of Organos”, “Factory Fiction” and “Hot Tea”, this set was highly anticipated amongst the Goose faithful, especially as it was their first show in eight years with original band members (plus the addition of Peter Anspach).

Vasudo–featuring Matt Campbell (vocals, keys) in addition to Goose bandmates Rick Mitarotonda (vocals, guitar), Peter Anspach (vocals, keys), Jeffrey Arevalo (drums, percussion), and Trevor Weekz (bass)– delighted fans by playing five of six tracks off its recently released and long-awaited debut LP, Call It Louis. While Vasudo is essentially Goose and there was a lot of familiarity in the 75-minute set, the feel of the music was totally different from the reggae vibes to Matt Campbell’s vocals, which would be delightfully revisited later in the weekend.

Vasudo – “Rockdale” – Arrington, VA – 8/20/21

[Video: Vasudo]

Vasudo – Fred the Festival – Arrington, VA – 8/20/21 – Partial Set

Behind smoky silhouettes on a massive soundstage, Dawes would follow, ditching their folk-rock roots for a face-melting and authentic front-to-back cover of Black Sabbath’s Paranoid that was pure festival gold. Is there a better opener than “War Pigs”? Not for my money. Brothers Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith would figure heavily in the weekend’s events, and this set surely stands out as one of the weekend’s highlights while also underscoring Dawes’ impressive range. What an epic way to close day one on the main stage.

Dawes – “War Pigs” (Black Sabbath) – Arrington, VA – 8/20/21 (Partial)

Festivities then moved to Garcia’s Forest for a late-night set from ElephantProof, Goose drummer Ben Atkind’s side project alongside guitarist Sean Cronin, bassist Shon Gordon, and keyboardist Chris Enright (also formerly of Goose in the pre-Anspach days of Moon Cabin).

Playing their first show in seven years–a theme that would continue throughout the weekend–this was exactly the set I needed though I didn’t yet know it at the time. Jamming on their recently released single “Hyphy” and also paying homage to Jimi Hendrix with a unique and synthy-cover of “Purple Haze”, this Goose-adjacent quartet emphatically announced their presence on the late-night scene. With their funky grooves, hard-hitting rhythms, heavy rock and roll stylings, and dark and dirty jams, ElephantProof’s funk-fusion style was tailor-made for a late-night dance party in the woods.


An 11:00 am billing of Peter on the Porch was all the motivation required to return to the Farm with barely enough sleep for day two’s early events. The first-ever solo acoustic performance from Peter Anspach checked every box: genuine, raw, emotional, personable, funny, and talented, this was another gem with a VIP feel as the small crowd gathered criss-cross applesauce under a shade tent. Getting loose with “The Whales”, he then played a number of first-time-ever songs, each with a backstory that gave the set an intimate VH1 Storyteller vibe, including a funny little Easter egg shoutout to yours truly.

Peter on the Porch – Fred the Festival – Arrington, VA – 8/21/21 – Partial Set

Color war and other #getinvolved games passed the afternoon hours before Sammy Rae & Friends took the early afternoon stage, full-on festy vibes now setting in as this was the first time I had ever seen (or heard of) this sensational talent—a set that may have admittedly been missed if not for Peter directly mentioning Sammy Rae during his morning Porch set. An eight-piece consisting of rhythm, horns, and background singers and dancers, Sammy and her friends were right at home with their diverse offerings of jazz, funk, folk, and rock. ElephantProof was the weekend’s first surprise, but Sammy Rae was the weekend’s best surprise.

Sammy Rae & Friends – “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” (Tears For Fears) – Arrington, VA – 8/21/21 – (Partial)

Cory Wong was up next, proudly representing Minneapolis, MN not just with his trademark stripes and funk, but with bassist Sonny T. (Prince; 1991–1996) in the band as well. A signature set of guitar-induced funk led by the fastest right hand in the business behind Cory’s chicken scratch style complemented by a towering horn section had fans dancing and sweating in the late afternoon sun.

Cory Wong – Fred the Festival – Arrington, VA – 8/21/21 – Partial Set

 

Dawes drew the last slot before the headliner, playing an original set of indie folk-rock that contrasted heavily with the prior evening’s heavy metal trappings of Black Sabbath. Taylor kicked off the set saying, “This is actually our first show back playing our own songs in a long time,“ continuing the weekend’s trend of bands either reuniting or playing their first post-pandemic shows before settling into “When Your Time Comes”.

Dawes – “All Your Favorite Bands” – Arrington, VA – 8/21/21

Every show is the best show. At the very least, my head and my heart are always open enough to allow for that possibility. I don’t chase history; rather, I collect moments (and people), and there’s no better place to do that these days than at a Goose show.

Finally taking the stage for the first time as headliners of their own festival, Goose was met with thundering applause before responding in kind with a peel of the gong and a “How are ya, Fred?” The familiar bass slap of Peter Anspach side project Great Blue’s original “Yeti” got the crowd dancing down and dirty right from the start, followed by an epic “Drive” that’ll certainly stand up to repeated listens.

“Rosewood Heart” preceded a first-time cover of David Grey’s “Please Forgive Me” in which yours truly may have been the only one in the house unfamiliar with the 1999 pop classic. “Seekers On The Ridge Pt 1 & 2” brought the set solidly past the hour mark before an all-time 20-plus minute version of “Arrow” closed the nearly 90-minute set.

Goose – Fred the Festival – Arrington, VA – 8/21/21 – Set One

After a short break, Goose then unleashed a four-song second set in which it could easily be argued that every song was the g.o.a.t. “Creatures”, a masterclass in both ferocity and tenderness, kicked it off as its lyrics underscored my every-show-is-the-best-show-theory, “Oh this moment is the only thing you know.” “Hot Tea” might just be the most fun tune in the jam world right now, and this version really soared though we’ll leave the best-ever status of this Matt Campbell-penned classic for the historians to sort out.

I will not, however, accept arguments regarding the all-time status of “This Old Sea” with Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith of Dawes on guitar/vocals and drums, respectively, and Jeff Arevalo sliding to Handini’s guitar for the duration to accommodate the extra drummer. That’s two drummers, three guitarists, keyboards, and bass if you’re scoring at home, and I’d love to know which band member dreamed up this first of the weekend collaboration that reduced me to a pile of tears.

Goose ft. Dawes – “This Old Sea” [Pro-Shot] – 8/21/21

[Video: Goose]

Having already exceeded their allotted time, a cover of The Band’s “Don’t Do It” put an exclamation point on what was no doubt the best Goose show since the last show, even if the “White Lights” encore was inexplicably crossed off the setlist due to curfew.

Goose – Fred the Festival – Arrington, VA – 8/21/21 – Set Two

Playing very much like a band headlining their own festival, this show was everything. I don’t rank ‘em, I just collect ‘em, and this one was a flawless beauty.

Setlist: Goose | Fred the Festival | Arrington, VA | 8/21/21

Set One: Yeti, Drive > Rosewood > Please Forgive Me {1}, Seekers On The Ridge Pt 1 & Pt 2, Arrow

Set Two: Creatures, Hot Tea , This Old Sea {2}, Don’t Do It {2} {3}

Coach’s Notes: {1} David Grey, FTP; {2} Very special guests Griffin on drums/vocals & Taylor on guitar/vocals and vocals from Dawes. Jeff played Handini’s guitar; {3} The Band

Feeling Neal Casal’s presence very heavily as I laid eyes for the first time on the recently dedicated Neal’s Stage, I imagine this had to be a full-circle moment for bassist Dan Horne who played alongside Casal in Circles Around The Sun, and was gracing Neal’s Stage for the first time during this explosive two-hour Grateful Shred set that went well past 2:30 a.m.

New band members Omar Velasco (guitar/vocals) and the previously mentioned Taylor Kropp (guitar), alongside guitarist and band founder Austin McCutchen meshed brilliantly giving the band their best and most unique sound in recent memory. The set-ending combo of “Mr. Charlie” > “Eyes of the World” > “Drums” > “Space” > “Shakedown Street”, “Tom Thumb’s Blues”, “Scarlet Begonias” > “Fire on the Mountain”, “One More Saturday Night” was nothing short of perfection. Grateful Dead cover bands may be a dime a dozen, but this one’s worth the price of admission.


“It’s at least five to forty degrees hotter than yesterday.” – Me.

Orebolo, Spanish for Orebolo, is an aGoosetic trio consisting of Rick Mitarotonda (guitar/vocals), Peter Anspach (guitar/vocals), and Jeffery Arevalo (upright bass/vocals). Although they broadcast several live streams early in the pandemic, the trio has only played once in front of a live audience at a podcast festival with Tom Marshall’s Osiris Media in Brooklyn, NY in 2019. Having exhausted all available recordings, this was one of my most anticipated sets of the weekend and it both lived up to and exceeded all my expectations. Peter mentioned on stage that the trio will be looking to play more shows, so just throwing it out there that #marckomitoville is now accepting applications for 2022.

An absolutely stunning, moving, and emotional set, the song selection was just as perfect as its execution. The result of hard work and extensive vocal training, there is no better or sweeter voice on the scene than Rick Mitarotonda and hearing him tackle vocals on some Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan classics along with “It Burns Within”, the Goose original that would be my wedding song if I had it to do over, was pure bliss.

Orebolo – “Shelter From The Storm” (Bob Dylan) – Arrington, VA – 8/22/21

Orebolo – “Ship of Fools” (Grateful Dead) – Arrington, VA – 8/22/21

Orebolo – “It Burns Within” – Arrington, VA – 8/22/21

Setlist: Orebolo | Fred the Festival | Arrington, VA | 8/22/21

Set: Shelter From The Storm {1}, Elizabeth {2}, Ship Of Fools {3}, It Burns Within {2}, Bruised Orange {4}, All I Need {2}, Louise {5} Wake up {6}, Tennessee Jed {3}

Coach’s Notes: {1} Bob Dylan, {2} Göose, {3} Grateful Dead, {4} John Prine, {5} Bonnie Raitt, {6} Arcade Fire

Curative consistency still intact, the indie-folk act of Hiss Golden Messenger was next to the stage. The star power of lead singer and guitarist MC Taylor is undeniable and perhaps the only lost opportunity of the weekend was not seeing him on stage with Goose at some point. A lovely set of original music that I wasn’t too familiar with but thoroughly enjoyed, when you take the stage at LOCKN’, if there’s a “Franklin’s Tower” in your wheelhouse then you may as well play it.

Hiss Golden Messenger – “Franklin’s Tower” (Grateful Dead) – Arrington, VA – 8/22/21

Dr. Dog, another band playing their first show since the pandemic at Fred Festival, announced back in June that they will be done touring after the appropriately named Last Tour that kicked off for them on Sunday at Fred and will end with a run of hometown shows in Philadelphia, PA this coming December.

As Toby Leaman (bass) announced, “This is our first show back since the before times so we’re a little nervous and a lot excited. By the end of the set we should be so tight.” With a healthy contingent of super fans traveling to see them, Dr. Dog laid down all the hits like “Nellie” while crushing a 75-minute set, the last of the day before Goose would close the festival proper with two more sets of their own.

After a nasty looking storm cloud threatened and slightly delayed the start as the crew prepared for weather, Goose opened their penultimate set with “Honey Bee”, Jon “Coach” Lombardi paradoxically warding off Mother Nature with his rainstick even as stagehands lowered the speaker stacks to stage level due to gusty winds.

“Lilly’s Tiger” and “Butter Rum”, songs written by Great Blue and Vasudo respectively, followed as both the band and its fans, now free from the threat of inclement weather, were able to settle in and find their collective groove. Things really started to take off with “Tumble” as the band began to connect and color outside the lines for the first time this evening, even as its lyrics portended the monster finish lying in wait, “The road lies ahead so tie up your shoes.”

A beautiful “726”, played for just the fifth time since debuting last summer, brought things back to the realm of soft and seductive before the introduction of the evening’s first guest, Chris “Doc” Enright. Bandmates with Ben Atkind in ElephantProof and former member of Goose (in the pre-Peter days), Enright holds keyboarding credits on Goose’s first album, Moon Cabin, and his contributions were undeniable as he joined his former mates and shared key duties with Anspach for a unique and memorable “So Ready”.

Goose – “726”, “So Ready” (w/ Chris “Doc” Enright) – Arrington, VA – 8/22/21

With just one set remaining in their first-ever proprietary festival, Goose unleashed what can only be described as a historic and noteworthy finale. “Dark Horse”, an old but new favorite that debuted in 2014 but was just released this year on Shenanigans Nite Club, kicked things off in high gear. “Western Sun”, something of a personal theme song, rocked my soul as always with its poignant lyrics, tasty guitar licks, and sultry rhythms. “Earthlings or Aliens?”, a song that has grown to become Goose’s funkiest jam vehicle, really took what was already a ridiculous dance party to the next level. When Matt Campbell, keyboardist and vocalist for Vasudo who shares many songwriting credits with Mitarotonda, was next to the stage, the outcome could really only have been one thing and to be perfectly honest, it was one I was expecting in Vasudo’s Friday night set.

“Factory Fiction” happened next and it was absolutely, mind-numbingly bonkers. Written by Vasudo in 2012 and played with semi-regularity until 2013, it was shelved from 2013 to 2018 and then again from 2018 to 2021 with the exception of a live-streamed version during Bingo Tour and a couple private parties. The only other live versions by Goose were 6/2/2018 and 6/12/2021.

This reunion will go down in the record books, not just for the Campbell/Mitarotonda harmonies, the Campbell/Anspach collabs on keys, or for the ferocity with which it was played, but for the players themselves. Reflecting back on Enright’s contributions for “So Ready”, it kind of makes one wonder what Goose would look like with three keyboardists, two guitarists, double drummers, and, of course, Trevor on five-string bass–seven bodies with one mind–but I digress. Consecutive nights with incendiary four-song second sets, this my friends, is Goose.

Not ready to end their first festival without a proper encore, Goose returned to give the deserving crowd an all-time exclamation point. It’s always been my opinion that “Travelers” and “Elmeg The Wise” were created as a single composition, regardless of when they were each written and/or debuted (the former in 2013 and the latter in 2020). Song structure and lyrics overlap, as do the tale they tell. Moreover, there’s supposedly a third part of the saga floating around but those facts seem less clear. What is more clear, however, is that these two songs were played consecutively for just the first time, and this seminal composition could very well be Goose’s most powerful work.

Goose – Fred the Festival – Arrington, VA – 8/22/21 – Set Two

Setlist: Goose | Fred the Festival | Arrington, VA | 8/22/21

Set One: Honey Bee {1}, Lilly’s Tiger, Butter Rum, Tumble, 726, So Ready {2}

Set Two: Dark Horse, A Western Sun, Earthlings or Aliens? {3}, Factory Fiction {4}

Encore: Travelers > Elmeg The Wise

Coach’s Notes:
{1} JonL on rain stick; {2} Very special guest and former member of Göose Chris ‘Doc’ Enright on keys; {3} Spuds & Name had a drum jam; {4} Very special guest Matt Campbell from Vasudo on Keys

Next Show: 9.3.21 • 4848 • Snowshoe, WV

You see I have come here on my own
In search of an honest place to call my home

The community that has grown around Goose is a spectacular and special place, full of spectacular and special people. Goose’s fans deserve a nod of recognition, just as does the production crew that is their–and all of our–extended family. Goose’s ability to command an ever-growing crowd and stage (Mohegan Sun Arena, here we come, baby!) is as much due to their musicality and songwriting as it is a credit to the production team that they have grown and nurtured in-house. Shoutouts to Jon Lombardi, Marta Goedde, Bryan Murphy, Andrew Goedde, Sam Bardani, Danny MacDonald, and Naveed Quarterman, as well as Ethan and Karl with Arrival Artists Booking Agency and Dave, Ben, and Matt with 11E1even Management Group. We feel all of your love with every note.

Of every doubt that fills my head
In this moment they laid still

101,178 steps. Yep, that’s right.

Scroll down to check out a gallery of photos from Goose’s Fred the Festival at the LOCKN’ Farm courtesy of Chris Quinn.