Good Old War
Concert, as a word, stands for harmony, accord, and connection. It stands for people coming together, for a music that can be sung as one. Times have changed since this word came into use, but semantics remain consistent. A great concert is one where there is a great connection, and when the concert in question is headlined by Good Old War, this greatness is practically guaranteed.
There is a simple beauty to Good Old War, who so embody folksy brilliance. Their new album evokes a great feeling of comfort, a feeling of refinement in that the band has found the exact sound it desired to create. The lyrics are still strokes of genius, sticking in the mind of the listener for hours after they are first heard, easy to memorize and difficult to forget. They are honest, insightful, and completely relevant to any ordinary life; expressing feelings of loneliness, effort, love, weakness, passion, and all in words that are unpretentious and beautiful as can be.
Two standout singles are My Own Sinking Ship and That’s Some Dream, which are both haunting accomplishments that stay with the listener in such a way that every time I listen I will remember the first time I heard them. The songs are background music that can make the most uneventful moment something quite unique; for instance, driving in the car with a friend listening to That’s Some Dream suddenly becomes different from a hundred other drives, because the chorus ‘I’m going to live, I’m all right, I’m going to die it’s all right, I’m okay’ evokes this strange sense of happiness, contentment, and thought that is as lovely the first listen as it is the next fifty repeats.
The amazing thing about Good Old War is their ability to seem so close, and their sound is not only a welcome accompaniment to any part of life but because of its unique character, it is almost like another person, making normal moments, like a drive completed a thousand times, memories that are hard to forget.
This kind of musical power was not missing from their live show, which I was lucky enough to attend, at a tiny venue called Backbooth in Orlando, Florida. The venue’s smallness was perfect for such a scene, as the band’s sound is completed with only two acoustic guitars and a drum set. They played for an audience of dedicated fans who knew their lyrics by heart, and their performance was convincing as ever that folk, when done well, is as powerful as any of its more ostenatious genre counterparts.
It is the kind of music that causes no barrier between the musicians and the audience itself, as those who make up the band, Keith Goodwin, Dan Schwartz, and Tim Arnold genuinely seem like a lovely bunch of guys with no sense of self-indulgence.
For the encore, they decided to play ‘with the audience’, coming directly into the crowd to play three favorite songs, including the masterpiece That’s What’s Wrong. Standing in the middle of floor, surrounded by fans singing along, the three-man band grew to encompass the entire venue, proving that the connection strived for in concerts today can still be attained easily, as long as great music is played. Good Old War, it would appear, has no problems with the latter. The band is a true, honest gem, refining raw beauty in a gilded age of the music industry where something as simply beautiful as folk done right is as refreshing as it is unforgettable.
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