Good Old War’s spring U.S. headline tour came through Chicago recently with The Belle Brigade and Family of the Year at the Lincoln Hall. You can check out our review of the show after the break.
Being a 21+ show and taking place in Lincoln Hall was a good choice for this show. It brought out tons of people, all with drinks in hand which gave the crowd a good feeling and allowed them to let loose to the good tunes.
The first band on the bill was Family of the Year, a 5 piece band hailing from Los Angeles. Playing a mixture of classic indie rock with a little bit of pop catchiness, the band was on a mission to set the mood for the rest of the night and that they did. Their stage presence and back and forth commentary let the crowd know that their band name is not just a meaningless name. They were as close as family, in fact lead singer Joe Keefe and drummer Sebastian Keefe are actual siblings. With four vocals going on and some catchy handclaps, they were on their A game tonight as I couldn’t find a single issue with their vocals and instruments. They were harmonious and they sent chills down my spine as Joe Keefe sings exactly as he does on his recordings. The song St. Croix was one that really caught the crowd’s attention. The song set a scene and had an island vibe that got everyone grooving with good spirits. Which only went on for the rest of the night.
The next band on the bill was The Belle Brigade. A brother and sister duo with some help of a backing band playing some good old fashioned folk rock. I have never heard of them until tonight but after doing some research I found that they were actually on the “Breaking Dawn: soundtrack. The Belle Brigade brought nothing but energy to the stage which showed through singer Barbara Gruska’s swinging Elvis-like dance moves. The entire time I was listening to them, I kept picturing an old retro diner in modern times and how this is exactly the kind of stuff you would expect to hear on the jukebox. Something about their music brings you to a carefree time. The best part of their entire set is when Barbara took off her guitar and switched up instruments and got behind the drums for a couple songs including “Where not to look for freedom” which got the crowd dancing. They did suffer some minor sound issues but that was on Lincoln Hall’s part. But the energy of the crowd after they left the stage was thanks to The Belle Brigade and got the crowd excited for Good Old War.
It took a while before Good Old War went up on stage, but this was because of the painstaking set up of Good Old War’s set. Being a three piece band, they set up in a line with the drummer Tim Arnold center stage. The stage looked like a playing field for Good Old War with instruments spread out across the stage. With Tim’s synth and accordion within reaching distance from his drumset, Dan Schwartz’s acoustic in hand and electric guitar mounted to a stand, and Keith Goodwin’s keys and guitar in hand. Good Old War is a prime example of how amazing things can be when musicians know how to play multiple instruments and put on a good show. They may be a three piece but everything sounded so full with the amount of instruments they were able incorporate in their songs live. Playing their version of folk-pop music appealed largely to the 21+ crowd bringing young people to adults looking for a good time out. Goodwin’s vocals were on point tonight and the crowd was loud enough to hear over his voice. Drummer Tim Arnold showcased some of his skills by playing the drums, the synth, and singing all at the same time. Dan Schwartz’s guitar skills gave the crowd something to cheer for in little bit of a solo in between songs after singer Keith wanted to hear some “Stevie Ray Vaughn” stuff from him. After they brought the mood down for a couple slow songs the energy shot right back up with a little “Day-o” cover that Arnold belted out from the top of his lungs. They ended the night with their hit “Carry Me Home” which got the crowd letting loose and singing every word. the crowd was sad to see them go but they were all ready to hit the bars right afterwards.
Information about the review…
Tour: Good Old War Spring US Headline Tour
Bands: Good Old War, The Belle Brigade, and Family of the Year
Reviewer: Norvin Ng
Date: April 14, 2012
Venue: Lincoln Hall in Chicago, IL