Goose goes beyond the tie-dyed crowd

Leader Bank Pavilion, Boston, September 13, 2023

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

The tie-dyed brigade was out in force for Goose. While a colorful show in many ways, the main deal was the music.

Goose, a Connecticut-based quintet, was at the top of its game in that category as well over the course of two sets and 2-1/2 hours of music in the first of two nights.

Goose has neatly fit into the jam band category, although their bent is definitely from the rocking side of the genre, not the bluegrass end. There was no doubt of that from "Drive," the first song of the opening set. Lead singer Rick Mitarotonda offered some staccato playing at the outset, kicking in nicely into a groove before bassist Trevor Weeks entered the fray. And then it was Mitarotonda's steely lead, which carried the song, sometimes going into overdrive.

Fifteen minutes – perhaps a bit too long – resulted in Goose keyboardist/guitarist Peter Anspach clearly satisfied with his band mate. After all, he smiled broadly.

Mitarotonda, who handled most of the singing, simply was a guitar shredder. That guy can play. He's not all about speed though to carry him through and impress with fast fingers. Sometimes it was the less is more category that worked – quieter, slower songs with taut, precise playing, but no showboating his way through the material.

Goose may be a rock band, but not exclusively. There were certainly nods of the head to the Grateful Dead and the Allman Brothers on a number of occasions. They'd also get on the funky side too.

"Butter Rum" was a festive song with a bit of a call-and-response with the crowd and an island kind of feel to the melody.

Even a nod to country on "Madhuvan" before the Allmans influence kicked in. The musical dynamism was in full force until the end. Concluding the regular set with "Madhuvan," Mitarotonda left his guitar on the stage and exited. Only his guitar didn't. He may have left, but the sound continued for a few minutes of shifting droning sounds before Goose jumped back on stage for the encore.

"Butterflies" was more of a straight ahead melody although Mitarotonda embellished the song by playing with the dials, changing up the sonics.

There was a lot to like about the musicianship. Ben Atkind was a most dynamic, sure-handed drummer, keeping the beat in check no matter the musical direction. He formed a dynamic duo with Weeks, also active on bass from start to finish. He may not have shown much emotion behind his sunglasses, but sure was vital to underpinning the songs. Anspach, with numerous keyboard runs including the closing "(dawn)," and percussionist Jeff Arevalo all played key parts of the musical equation as well.

About the only musical misstep was a cover of Kenny Loggins' "Danger Zone." Very commercial, of course, the song was so different than anything that Goose otherwise played and didn't add a whole lot.

While the staging itself was simple, the lighting was not. There were lots of shifts of colors and hues throughout as well as the shapes that the lighting created without an obvious trippy effect – sometimes round, sometimes as columns, other times triangular and more. A lot of thought clearly went into the presentation and determining how synch up with the music instead of overwhelming it.

This was a warm, colorful night of music from Goose – way beyond the tie-dyed crowd.

© Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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