Under the Radar: Goose

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Feb 092021

Under the Radar shines a light on lesser-known cover artists. If you’re not listening to these folks, you should. Catch up on past installments here.

Goose covers

Goose, whose name was inspired by an inside taco-related joke between bandmates Peter Anspach, Ben Atkind, Trevor Bass, and Rick Mitarotonda, formed in Connecticut in 2006. Many point to their performance at the Peach Festival in Scranton, PA in 2019 as the moment that elevated them from local heroes to more widespread fame.

Following in the footsteps of great jam bands before them (yes, they get compared to Phish a lot), Goose is known for keeping the vibe going with extended instrumentals. They’ve been keeping busy during the pandemic, even profiting from a “Bingo Tour” where they live stream a setlist determined in real time by random draws of bingo balls and raising money for charity.

Throughout their different gigs they’ve performed quite a few covers. Let’s check out a sampling of them.

Goose – Take On Me (a-ha cover)

This “Take on Me” cover starts with some brooding. You can almost hear The Cure’s “whenever I’m alone with you.” Then the synth kicks in, and we’re off. If you’ve ever gotten caught up in this tune and tried to “take on” that high note, you’ll be impressed by the range displayed here. Faithful to the original, this cover will take you back to the ‘80s.

Goose – Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard (Paul Simon cover)

Goose’s version of “Me and Julio” has the same lighthearted spirit as Paul Simon’s, but they lean less on acoustic jauntiness and more on a feel-good “Send Me On My Way”-esque style. The whistle solos become extended groove sessions on the guitar. Goose sprinkles these throughout to pad the original’s brief duration from less than three minutes to a full ten minutes. These instrumental breaks change in style, back and forth from heavier rock-band flexing to a lighter dreamy sequence and closing with the schoolyard sound.

Goose – AUATC (Bon Iver cover)

If you missed the release of this Bon Iver song (with vocals contributed by heavy hitters like Jenny Lewis, Jean Wasner, and Bruce Springsteen) thanks to everything going on in 2020, Goose provides a good entry point. They keep “AUATC” heartfelt with a hint of mournfulness. A dainty music box piano interlude yields the floor to let the bass and guitar have their say before bringing us back to the chorus to “shine a little light” on the ending.

Goose – Lovely Day (Bill Withers cover)

Paying their respects to Bill Withers after his passing, Goose takes on another classic. The bass line is comfortingly familiar, but listen for that new keyboard solo that adds some personality. It wouldn’t be a Goose cover if there wasn’t some extended jamming, and this one delivers. It keeps a mild energy; the band is not showing off, but rather stretching out our enjoyment of this “lovely day.”

Goose – Love is a Battlefield (Pat Benatar cover)

The synth is in full force in this Pat Benatar cover, and it sets the scene for the eventual guitar solo that kicks off the jam session part of the tune. Despite the groove, there is still an element of heartache that carries through.

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