Think of your fondest memories. Maybe it’s your wedding, the birth of a child, or the New York Rangers winning the Stanley Cup. Whatever it is, chances are your list is fairly populated with once-in-a-lifetime moments. But what if you could bottle those moments and relive them over and over again ad infinitum? Even better, what if they were slightly different each time, constantly shapeshifting and evolving in an infinite pattern of love, passion, and joy?
I’m here to tell you that it’s possible, but not in the traditional sense described above. I’m happily married and definitely not having more than 2.5 kids, and as good as they are, the Rangers are still a 70-1 longshot to win the Cup. Lucky for me, I long ago discovered live music as the bottomless well for my spiritual nutrition.
Various bands and certain artists in particular have stolen my heart over the years, but the subject of this story is Goose, the indie-jam quintet from Norwalk, CT. As they’ve risen, they’ve increasingly laid claim to an ever-expanding share of my energy, my intention, and my joy and it’s been my greatest pleasure to surrender and oblige.
First, it was my time, then my days off and then my travel budget. The more I give, the more I get, and the better it feels, and that’s true from both a monetary and spiritual sense. Goose is locked into that sacred space where they are constantly changing, growing, and evolving, continually outpacing not just my expectations but my creative desires, and constantly challenging me to change and grow and evolve with them.
Alright, the show…last night, Goose returned to the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. for the second night of a back-to-back and I’ll be damned if it wasn’t the best night of my life—yep, again. But that’s the thing with Goose: they deliver every. single. time. Something otherworldly and nearly indescribable happened in that storied room over these last two days.
Goose played songs–that’s what bands do, duh– and we’ll get to all that in a second, but what they played didn’t matter nearly as much as how they played or why they played. But looking out at throngs of people who came in ones and twos and instantly coalesced as one, notably a gaggle of 20 or 30 or more up front and center, faces bedecked with fluorescent war paint is just one example of the endless emotional sustenance that filled my spiritual cup. We were all in it together with an overwhelming sense of presence, and for a few short hours, everything was just absolutely perfect. Truth be told, I’m still floating on the afterglow. It’s real, and it’s spectacular.
Goose took the stage to thunderous applause close to 8:30, the sold-out room busting at the seams as the eager crowd bubbled over with anticipation. A unique telling of “Jive I” whipped the crowd into an early tizzy, Rick Mitarotonda displaying an early ferocity on lead guitar that quite simply never let up. I’m firmly in the play-whatever-the-f*ck-you-want camp, though I of course have favorites. “Indian River” was my lone (realistic) wish, and the version that followed was passionate and soul-stirring if not relatively compact.
Drummer Ben Atkind and auxiliary percussionist Jeff Arevalo continued to wow and while we’re on the rhythm section, let’s credit bassist Trevor Weekz for paradoxically continuing to reach new heights with new lows. Shoutout as well to Goose’s front-of-house team and in particular Sam Bardani for never being satisfied and Tweekz-ing Trevor’s knobs to find the ideal impedance to rattle my chest cavity with low-end goodness. The rhythm trio created incredible space for their spotlight-stealing bandmates as things started to get interesting from a jam perspective with “Welcome To Delta” which was followed by the somewhat evil and aptly titled “Dr. Darkness”.
True to its placement on Goose’s most recent studio effort, “Same Old Shenanigans” would then segue into the rarely played “(dawn)”, emphatically reminding one and all of the dance club behemoth hiding in plain sight on Shenanigans Nite Club. The first set closed around the 70-minute mark and left me gasping for air after an epic down and dirty funky reading of “Jeff Engborg”, another recent addition to the Goose catalog from Peter Anspach side-piece Great Blue. Check out the full set one video from the Richk-cam™ below.
Goose – 9:30 Club – Washington, D.C. – 3/2/22 – Set One
[Video: Marc Komito]
Setbreak gave at least one fan the opportunity to wring the sweat equity from his shirt as both sides of the stage regrouped and gathered themselves for the home stretch. Kicking off the final stanza was “Bob Don”, a personal favorite since the rain-shortened puddle party in Frederick, MD on 5/3/21. Heat energy was created and calories continued to burn and raise the temperature even before the mercury redlined with “Flodown”. No doubt whatsoever that the 9:30 Club was home to the rowdiest shindig in town and the flo hoedown that ensued put our nation’s capital on alert that square dancing is indeed cool again.
“Time To Flee” quickly left its structure, exploring every manner of sonic space imaginable in an extended Type-II jam before a best-in-class cover of The Moody Blues’ anthemic rocker “Nights In White Satin” followed. A bucket list song for most fans, pardon me for saying that a song this magnanimous needs some time on the shelf as it may have gotten a little tired for diehards with its fifth setlist appearance since debuting in Brooklyn, NY (1/25/20).
A 19-minute “All I Need” played with both tempo and my mind, teaming up with a 31-minute “Arrow” to forge new neural and sensory connections heretofore deemed impossible and bringing the second set proper to a close. I could talk about these two songs for paragraphs each, but sometimes less is more; in fact, I may have crossed that line already.
Goose – 9:30 Club – Washington, D.C. – 3/2/22 – Set Two
[Video: Marc Komito]
All that remained was the encore and Bobby “Blue” Bland‘s “Turn On Your Love Light” delivered a most fitting—and fun—ending to a most perfect run of shows, Bland’s time-tested lyrics doing their level best to describe what transpired in this room over the previous 28 hours.
Turn on your love light, let it shine on me
And let it shine, shine, shine, let it shine.
I’m not saying it was the best two-night run ever, but I’m not saying it wasn’t, either. But until it stops being true, I’ll leave you with this: every show is the best show since the last show until the next show. From the bottom of my heart, thank you, Goose.
Setlist: Goose | Washington, D.C. | 9:30 Club | 3/2/22
Set 1: Jive I > Indian River , Darkness, Same Old Shenanigans > Dawn, Jeff Engborg (Great Blue)
Set 2: Bob Don > Flodown, Time To Flee > Nights in White Satin (The Moody Blues), All I Need > Arrow
Encore: Turn On Your Love Light (Bobby “Blue” Bland)
 Welcome to Delta jam
Next Show: 3.3.22 • Charlotte, NC • The Fillmore Charlotte