The deliciously acoustic-driven sounds of Good Old War’s concert in Alumni Hall on Saturday– along with the cheers and shrieks of lovestruck fans (and that’s not limited to the females in the audience) — were audible all the way up to the third floor HUB and beyond.
This indie-folk band is comprised of Keith Goodwin, Tim Arnold, and Dan Schwartz, and the trio took the stage by storm with their signature multi-part harmonies and organic melodies that just begged the audience to sing along. And the audience was not hesitant to oblige.
The band began with their most popular song, “Coney Island,” then eased into a casual conversational mode with the audience as they talked about their last time playing at Penn State (like five or six years ago at Sozo, which several of the hipsters in the crowd claimed to have witnessed).
Keith Goodwin, between snippets of some pretty kickass dance moves, told the crowd, “Feel free to sing loud!” as they went into another of the band’s best known songs, “That’s Some Dream,” and the crowd shouted along: I’m gonna live, I’m alright/ I’m gonna die, it’s alright.
Tim Arnold, the band’s beloved and undeniably sassy drummer, gave “his best Harry Belafonte impression” as they eased into “Day O (The Banana Boat Song)” and offered up a Jamaican feel which totally contrasted the country flare of the song that came right before, “Weak Man.” It should also be noted that during “My Own Sinking Ship,” Tim was playing the drums, harmonizing, AND PLAYING THE ACCORDION. And you thought you could multitask.
Keith talked about the time they played “Pour Some Sugar On Me” at Penn State fraternity Sigma Alpha Mu when they were younger and guitarist Dan Schwartz started ripping the song on his electric guitar (saying, “I shouldn’t know this, I’m sorry.”) Then Keith said that tonight they’d stick to Good Old War songs, “not Bon Jovi,” at which point the rest of the trio broke down into fits of laughter. Keith, champ that he is, responded with a bold, “Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, same thing!”
They eventually slowed it down with one of their more serious songs, “Amazing Eyes,” which Keith dedicated to his baby boy “and the one on the way.” If the girls in the crowd weren’t awwww-ing at the song’s lyrics already, such a dedication certainly had tears pricking at the back of their eyes.
After the show, the band was cool enough to stick around for a while. They showed a select group of the audience their guitars, and they were happy to pose for pictures with fans. All in all, these dudes are not only incredible musicians, they’re also hilarious, down to earth, and freaking adorable. If you didn’t get to this totally free, ticket-less show, you definitely missed out. Their next show is May 3 in Tampa, Florida– did somebody say road trip!?