by Lauren Rosier
On Friday night in beautiful University City, Philadelphia’s favorite indie folk duo, Good Old War, stripped their songs down to the simplicity of an acoustic guitar and vocals, and the delivery was magical.
World Cafe Live played host to the band’s An Intimate Evening with Good Old War tour. WXPN’s Free at Noon concert featured the supporting act, a three-piece indie pop band, Empty Houses, from Detroit, and of course, Good Old War.
Keith Goodwin (vocals) and Dan Schwartz (guitars, vocals) emerged side stage to the deafening applause from a diverse crowd of true Good Old Warriors. All ages of people were represented in the crowd from high schoolers to older adults that all shared one common love: Good Old War.
The duo opened their set with “Looking For Shelter” off their debut Only Way To Be Alone. Goodwin and Schwartz always deliver an energetic, exciting, sing-along show that never disappoints; however, this acoustic tour was something magical, something so special, that’ll never happen again.
The band performed tracks from all their albums throughout their 60-minute or so set such as “Window” that featured Schwartz’s skills on guitar. From “Loud Love” that features the band’s beautiful harmonies so perfectly to “Sneaky Louise” that the crowd was dying to hear, and of course, “Coney Island,” Schwartz and Goodwin always deliver a show that never disappoints, always puts a smile on your face, and makes you sing along.
The lead single, “Tell Me What You Want From Me,” from their latest album, Broken Into Better Shape, closed out the set to extensive applause and cheers that clearly gave the duo an incredible welcome home and led to a three-song encore!
The band started the encore set with another fan favorite, “Weak Man,” and then went into what Goodwin stated was their hardest song to perform guitar-wise, “After The Party.” Schwartz is probably one of the best guitarists I’ve ever seen and their performance of this song was perfect.
Their last performance of the night was an unplugged version of “Not Quite Happiness.” It was just their voices, the guitar, and the crowd listening intently to a truly intimate, personal performance of a beautiful song. It was truly a magical experience to witness a performance that stripped down, raw, and intimate from a band that has dealt with much change. It was the perfect “Welcome Home, Good Old War” performance and their entire set was just a great way to show how much Philadelphia loves them.
The opener, Empty Houses, comprised of Ali Shea, David Mackinder, and Adam Mercer, took the crowd back to the time in music where old Motown and soul music reigned. They delivered a solid 30-40-minute set of songs that was slightly reminiscent of Lake Street Dive, but still had their own sound that couldn’t be imitated.
Empty Houses is definitely one of those bands that you have to watch. Their music brings back old Motown records, while blending it with modern pop, resulting in a nostalgic musical experience for the listener. Songs like “Daydream” and “Rope” off their upcoming debut, Daydream, reveal how talented this band is, and their career is just beginning.