If you’re just now starting to hear rumblings across your friend group about this new band called Goose and you happen to stumble upon this post, consider your social interest piqued and congratulations on the soon-to-be-newfound fandom that will wash over you after a few spins and after a Google search or two to find out more about the band.
Goose is “an American Indie-Groove band from Connecticut.” The band started as a four-piece featuring Rick Mitarotonda (Guitar/Vox), Peter Anspach (Guitar/Keys/Vox), Trevor Weekz (Bass), and Ben Atkind (Drums), and they later added Jeff Arevalo (Perc/Vox/Gong) to round out the current lineup. As the end of 2022 approaches, they continue to be praised as one of the best, biggest and buzzed about jamband in a long time, even as they assert and lean into their “indie groove” designation. So far they’re doing everything right, but I wasn’t always sure we’d see them land here.
At the time their music had crossed my desk a few years ago, it was described as “that new East Coast jamband that does auto-tune” which was pretty much an immediate pass from me. New jamband? East Coast? Auto-tune? Three quick strikes. But then I saw they were covering tunes like Kylie Minogue’s “Can’t Get You Out of My Head,” which is a certified banger for me, so suddenly my jaded vet armor had a soft spot. I decided to dive in a little further to see if this could possibly be an acceptable route for a jamband to take.
So…the covers at the Goose concert tonight so far have been Radiohead, The Moody Blues & Kylie Minogue. Not too shabby pic.twitter.com/CBTiSdltEE
— PeteLikesPhish (@PeteLikesPhish) January 26, 2020
After some digging I was struck by the fact that their music had started to emotionally attach to me in ways that I don’t often get after a few spins, thanks in large part to the bevy of full shows the band offers up on their YouTube channel. Easily I found myself hooked enough to book both shows on the San Francisco run they held in early 2022, and while I’ve only seen two shows, I’m fully planning more in the future.
— LIVE music blog (@livemusicblog) January 30, 2022
For anyone that’s still curious on where to start with this band, here are 10 quintessential Goose tunes that are good spots to get your ears initiated or to help get your friends converted.
1 All I Need
The version on Alive and Well from November 15, 2019 extends just past 27 minutes, quickly signaling to us that this band isn’t afraid of spreading out far. The jam begins at about seven minutes in and it’s off and running with a high-energy jam propelled by Ben Atkind’s drum beat. There’s a frenetic energy in this one that sold me immediately, especially the guitar riffs around minute 21 and beyond. By the time we get to minute 25 it feels like we’re in the middle of a sick Disco Biscuits jam with that high-energy interplay between the four band mates firing on all cylinders. I’ll take it.
The first song I got hooked on was “Arcadia,” specifically the July 27, 2019 version from the Peach Music Fest available on YouTube and via their release, Alive and Well. According to setlist.fm, it’s the song they’ve played the most and will most likely coalesce as the band’s “You Enjoy Myself” ala Phish, that song that people can point to and say “this is what makes this band unique.” No doubt we’ll continue to see this song popping up in setlists in the band’s future.
The studio version of this Dripfield LP title track has gotten a lot of plays ever since it dropped as a single promoting their new album released earlier this year. I absolutely love this track. And I think it highlights what makes this band sound unique against other jambands in the pack, as this song reminds me more of a Janes Addiction or Peter Gabriel song in how it pulses and builds. That was how it first hit my ears and I’ve had a hard time pinning down what it actually sounds like ever since. Just give it a spin.
The song has already expanded in the live setting and turned into something with even more emotional heft. No surprise that it’s been played quite a few times in 2022 and was chosen to be played towards the end of their Radio City Music Hall run when Trey Anastasio from Phish first sat in with the band. I think the band enjoys this one quite a bit.
— LIVE music blog (@livemusicblog) June 17, 2022
4 Factory Fiction
The song remains a relative rarity in the band’s arsenal and first appeared to most fans via their Bingo Tour release. And after its bust-out at the Westville Music Bowl last June (see “Tumble” below), it seemed to come back in a bigger way during 2022 with two appearances on the TABOOSE tour, the recent jaunt that took the band out on select dates with Trey Anastasio Band. This tune has all the elements of a solid jamband composition and will translate well to fans of probably any other jamband in the scene.
5 Hot Tea
The third track on their Alive and Well release is the “Hot Tea” from August 10, 2019, and this is definitely the second song that really grabbed me and had me humming the tune all day. It’s also the tune I started to hear from other non-Goose fans that they enjoyed the most, probably because it’s one of the catchiest in their arsenal. The “La Da Daa Daaaa Da” part gets me every time, too. It’s too fun.
It closed the San Francisco run I saw and it’ll remain a large part of the band’s setlists in the future for sure.
6 Red Bird
I got the privilege to catch the song’s re-appearance in San Francisco at my first show ever, and the first time I heard the chorus I was left with some pleasurable goosebumps. It totally blew me away. And it seemed like the band agreed that this was a good show to highlight, as they re-posted their whole webcast from January 29, 2022 for free on YouTube.
As for the song itself, it has made multiple big appearances during 2022 following that SF bust-out, including a version with Trey Anastasio on the recent TABOOSE tour.
This song always struck me as one of the band’s most Phish-y compositions, and the way the jam launches always reminds me of an Umphrey’s McGee or Disco Biscuits transition. I’ll always love this tune for that transition alone, just a perfect stroll from one time signature and vibe to a groovier launchpad.
There are already so many good versions of this tune are out there, but the one that probably truly sold me on its power was the version from New Haven where they finished off with a buttery transition into “Factory Fiction” (see above). Don’t miss the version available on the band’s Swanzey live release as well.
8 White Lights
I’ve had an affinity for this song since they released the video of this jam back in 2019 where they took the song deep and then moved seamlessly into Talking Heads “Crosseyed & Painless” with some heavy auto-tuned vocals happening throughout. This is where the sound the band was putting out started to clash with what I was used to from the jamband scene, but that clash is what kept it interesting for me and brought me back to the band again and again.
I also love the version on the band’s Denver release from November 21, 2021 which follows a stellar “Tumble > Nights in White Satin” segment which is one of my favorite covers that they do (and honestly, who covers The Moody Blues??!).
9 Wysteria Lane
The night after catching “Red Bird” in San Francisco, I also got to catch a monster version of “Wysteria Lane” and it was one for the books. The band released it as one of their official highlights from the show — including a full rebroadcast of the night before with the “Red Bird” bust-out.
Give the San Francisco version a listen and don’t skip on the “Wysteria Lane” from August 16, 2019 that’s available on their Alive and Well release.
This is the song to me that points them most obviously as a jamband: the bass-slap intro, the silly “Yeti!” lyrics, etc. But it’s also what makes them immediately accessible if you’re already a fan of bands like Phish and moe., because you’ve already decided that lyrics and silliness can fit well in the moment if there’s a crunchy jam happening underneath an otherwise cringe-worthy lyrical moment.
So there you have it: 10 quintessential Goose songs to convert you on their sound and vibe. If you get through the selections above and the playlist below and still don’t feel honked, well, you’re probably just 100% sold on Goose yet. That’s okay. Maybe give it a few months and dip back in, because I think the band has a bright future ahead of them.
(All the songs above have been aggregated into a Spotify playlist here)