Good Old War Brightens Up A Rainy Sunday At The Avalon
It was in fact an appropriate climate for the Philadelphia natives to promote their newly released album, Come Back as Rain, at the Avalon in Hollywood.
In a recent interview with Neon Tommy, guitarist and vocalist Dan Schwartz promised a high-energy show. While lights and stage effects are usually uncharacteristic to the otherwise organic band, they wanted to fully take advantage of the size and nature of the venue.
Fans were not left disappointed as Sunday night’s performance laid emphasis on heavier percussion and lighting to create a more rock-and-roll effect.
Though the band worked to accommodate the larger venue, they did not lose sight of their folk roots in that their harmonies were as spot-on and goosebump-inducing as ever. These harmonies and acoustic sounds that gained the band their devoted following kept the show intimate despite the nature of the venue.The mix of their traditional acoustic sound with the heavy percussion, mastered by drummer Tim Arnold, was very balanced and surprisingly refreshing.
The Avalon in Hollywood is known for being a weekly club venue and as such, boasts a “party” vibe. Good Old War played off the venue’s vibes and spontaneously went into a jam of the 90’s R&B hit “This Is How We Do It” right after playing “Calling Me Names” off their new album.
Keith Goodwin, the main vocalist, showcased his eclectic dance moves throughout the set and joked around with the audience, provoking audience participation with each song whether it was clapping, fist pumping, or a sing-along. Later on in the set, Keith took it a step further and paused to ask everybody in the audience to hug somebody else in the crowd. At one point he stated, “We’re gonna turn this into an industrial dance party,” and launched into a rendition of their song, “Woody’s Hood Boogie Woogie.”
These high-spirited additions kept the crowd hyped and engaged, but devoted fans still received their fix of organic folk and harmonies that Good Old War delivers so well. Most notably in “Amazing Eyes,” off their new album, the trio took a break from the percussion and carried out an all acoustic performance with a focus on vocals and mind-blowing harmonies. The set provided a truly delicate balance of unexpected showmanship and genuine acoustic beauty.
Alongside their harmonies, another impressive element of their performance was the multi-instrumental talent of each member. Tim showcased his talents of musical multi-tasking by rocking the drums, keys and vocals at the same time. He also pulled out the accordion during the 2-song encore to further show his instrumental breadth.
While Keith shimmied around the stage, he also found it in his power to simultaneously sing and jam on the keys. Dan set up his electric guitar on a stand so that he could strum on his acoustic then reach over and add a little electric feel to a few songs.
The overall merry-making of the band onstage was infectious as the audience sipped on their Pabst Blue Ribbons, sang along to each song, and forgot about the heavy downpour outside. Despite the large venue, Good Old War was successful in keeping the intimate campfire-like atmosphere they always strive for through the way they made the set more of a conversation with their fans than a performance to please them.
By incorporating a lively and high-energy tone into their tried-and-true acoustic melodies, Good Old War kept their fans in high spirits throughout the show while still maintaining their musical integrity.
Reach Joanna Chiang here.