Last night, Goose played its first show since December 9th, 2023. The band that took the stage at The Capitol Theatre on Sunday looked a little different than the one that left the stage at Hampton Coliseum more than three months ago.

In the time since that last show, the Connecticut-native quintet parted ways with its founding drummer, Ben Atkind; tapped his replacement, Vermonter Cotter Ellis; released a getting-to-know-you EP featuring Ellis, Ted Tapes 2024; shared a string of live “Chateau Sessions” to give fans a look at the transition; and set the new chapter in motion with the announcement of two nationwide amphitheater swings set for later this year, collectively the group’s largest-scale tour to date.

Goose seemed to acknowledge that influx of plot points from one show to the next when the band added a four-show April stretch at The Capitol Theatre just a couple weeks ago. Rather than diving in with the new guy at a high-profile festival headlining gig (next up for the band after The Cap is a top-billed slot at Summer Camp Music Festival Solshine Reverie over Memorial day Weekend that was announced just one day before the split with Atkind), these four last-minute gigs in a familiar room would let the band tune its refurbished engine, kick the tires, and see how this new thing handles.

As Goose revved up with “Flodown”, “Rockdale”, and the improvisational highlight of set one—a careening, long-haul rendition of fan-favorite jam vehicle “Drive”—timidness was not a factor. In fact, the opposite may have better characterized the first show of the Cotter era: throughout the night, Ellis, Rick Mitarotonda (guitar), Peter Anspach (guitar, keys), Trevor Weekz (bass), and Jeff Arevalo (percussion) leaned liberally on the throttle and ignored the brakes, attacking hairpin turns with pent-up energy and tearing into each song with something-to-prove aggression. Even the mellower back half of set one—featuring both parts of “Seekers on the Ridge”, the Goose debut of Vasudo keepsake “Hot Love & The Lazy Poet”, and the unveiling of a new tune, “SALT”, with Arevalo on rhythm guitar—came across with maximalist sonic breadth and proverbial exclamation marks attached.

Pistons still hot from set one, Goose returned to the stage after the break with a proven party-starter, The Who‘s “Eminence Front”, then leaned harder on the gas (and the well-timed smoke machine cues) for a psychedelic serving of “Pancakes”. A pairing of “Creatures” and “Everything Must Go” set up another standout segment, a swirling “This Old Sea” that slipped gracefully into the oft-chased “Factory Fiction”. After Anspach introduced the encore with a formal welcome to Ellis, the band closed out the night with a howling “Yeti”.

Throughout the show, Cotter’s precision pocket and driving, aggressive style seemed to serve the outfit well, his presence acting as a fast-moving ride for a group eager to resume making tracks. The engine may have run a little hot at times due to the all-gas, no-breaks adrenaline spike of this new beginning, but he’ll surely get his bearings and find his sweet spot as he settles into his new seat. This was just the first test drive, after all, and there’s plenty of track ahead. For now, what we know is this: Cotter can play, and Goose is sitting on a full tank of gas it’s been itching to burn.

Below, view a full, pro-shot video of the show as well as the complete setlist. Scroll down to check out a gallery of photos from the first Goose show with drummer Cotter Ellis below via Charlie Francis Jenkins.

Goose returns to The Capitol Theatre on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights to continue its pre-tour test drive. For a complete list of upcoming Goose tour dates, head here.

Goose – The Capitol Theatre – Port Chester, NY — 4/7/24 — Full-Show Video [Pro-Shot]

Setlist [via]: Goose | The Capitol Theatre | Port Chester, NY | 4/7/24
Set One: Flodown[1], Rockdale, Drive[2], Seekers On The Ridge Part I > Seekers On The Ridge Part II, Hot Love & The Lazy Poet[3], SALT[4]
Set Two: Eminence Front[5], Pancakes, Creatures > Everything Must Go, This Old Sea -> Factory Fiction
Encore: Yeti

Coach’s Notes:
[1] Flopener.
[2] Unfinished.
[3] FTP as Goose.
[4] FTP.
[5] The Who.