As the sun set on Brighton Beach on one of the hottest days of the year, things were about to get even hotter for the queue of fans snaked around the block of Patterns to see the most buzzed-about punks in Brooklyn; Geese. Currently signed to Partisan Records (Idles, Fontaines D.C.) they are touring their post-apocalyptic rock’n’roll album 3D Country, co-produced by the legend James Ford who produced the likes of Depeche Mode and Shame and even had two albums in this year’s Mercury nominee list (Jessie Ware and Arctic Monkeys). With the buzz around Geese reaching a peak after tonight’s gig, all signs are pointing to the New York quintet being the next big name.
Echoing the multi-coloured lights of the seafront pier the stage lights danced in the dark basement, as sweat dripped from musicians and fans alike, hair clinging to their temples. It was the perfect place for a post-punk gig – a dark sweaty heat box and the crammed room of fans were loving every second. The band fused and collided soundscapes with energy, expertise and ease-melding art-punk with balladry, soul, gospel, free jazz, funk, blues, acid rock, psychedelia and Americana. It was almost as if the UK production of their latest album had led them to lean into their American roots more, making it all the more authentic. Blending vocal bass with falsetto they reflect on genres of the past but are propelling the genre firmly into the future, sculpting soundscapes that are rich with moments of frenetic energy and pensive depth. Like the current wave of eclectic UK art punks, Squid, Opus Kink and Black Midi the US quintet effortlessly mix and traverse genres gilding them with their own eclectic brand of whip-smart Americana.
Above anything else, they are simply EXCELLENT, highly skilled musicians who immerse themselves in the music creating innovative complimentary soundscapes. You can tell that they have been together for years honing their craft and stretching their sonic boundaries and intuition. They met at school in 2016 and you can tell – they have chemistry and stage presence as well as trust and confidence in each other reflecting that unspoken musical connection on stage leading to this high-quality experimentation. They may seem like they are jamming on the longer tracks, but it is done with expertise and experience so even when the outros feel like they are free-falling the band are in full control. It would be easy to forget how young this band are with their superlative level of skill, deep-complex vocal range and stage presence. Geese have gathered a flock of young fans excited and eager to sing along to every word giving the band a well-deserved springboard to success. They are tapping into the current zeitgeist of a young generation who watched the world crumble around them during the pandemic and yet find joy in their communal sonic experience
The Geese gig felt like a psychedelic time machine, with frontman Cameron Winter acting as the Shaman channelling demons, devils and angels. This band are made to headline festivals. You can hear the rock, indie and grunge roots of Led Zeppelin, Radiohead, and Nirvana melded with the psychedelic rock roots of Pink Floyd and The Doors. Their latest album 3D Country focuses on“the story of an uptight cowboy as he wanders through the desert after taking psychedelic drugs, watching the world around him – and his concept of the self unravel in the process”
Tonight at Patterns they took us all on that journey with them, creating a sense of wonder, depth of darkness, confessional intimacy and humour, awe and unease with some of the darker tracks. Like a cowboy wandering through the parched desert singing ballads, each track had its own narrative and multi-layered vibe.
They are no one trick ponies. They took us on a complete trip. As they entered the stage the lights went up and we were all bathed in smoke. Cameron Winter appeared solo like a preacher man on a cloud, drawing the crowd to a hush, blowing us all away with his exceptional Nick Cave-style murder ballad voice in the heavy track ‘Domoto‘, commanding the room before the rest of the band entered the stage to thrash out the heavier more intense grunge tinted textures, embedded with psychedelic swirls, dizzying the crowd with high energy post apocalyptic riffs. Those tracks would have been astonishing enough, only Winter’s vocal range blew us away even further when he reached the falsetto heights of Jake Shears of the Scissor Sisters, in tracks like ‘Tomorrow’s Crusades’, channelling both the masculine and feminine energies in high and low chants. “Where would I ever be without you?” as if he was raising the dead and channelling the voices from the underworld. On a record you would easily be forgiven for thinking that there was more than one person singing lead vocals with his incredible range.
The crowd went wild for ‘Cowboy Nudes‘ where they all sang along to every syllable of the funky track with their swinging ‘Warrior’ choruses, rich with harmonies going from the bluesy swing to the frenetic high-speed percussive outros. The ‘21222‘ track brought technically proficient heavy Jimi Hendrix vibes to the stunning vocals, merged with out-of-body primal screams while ‘Mysterious Love‘ seared with shredding, reverb and screaming emotive choruses. Pearl Jam style multi-faceted vocals were woven with dark spoken word and angelic harmonies all expertly crafted and jigsawed together into a beautifully cohesive and unexpected whole.
Cameron Winter is a charismatic, insanely talented, yet humble and witty frontman who played the keyboards like Ray Manzarek as well as possessing awe-inspiring vocal skills. At times he appeared to be lost in the music, going into a Jim Morrison style psychedelic trance and yet his voice continued to blow us away.
Each member of the band had an incredible stage presence headbanging and moving with style to the tracks, embodying every note. Cameron along with guitarist Gus Green and Foster Hudson, bassist Dom DiGesu, and drummer Max Bassin are a force to be reckoned with, pushing boundaries, they created a bugged-out, wild, unpredictable ride creating a sense of awe and unease which they are fully in control of. Describing their latest album, drummer Max said, “It feels like going to the circus and instead of having a good time, everyone is trying to kill you.” The darkness of the basement in Patterns, the high quality of the performance and the multicoloured lights certainly added to that surreal vibe. As the heat got too much, frontman Cameron Winter said “If I knew it was going to be this hot I wouldn’t have worn my formal attire. I’m getting Knighted tomorrow,” he said, fanning himself down with his T-shirt of King Kong’s face…or maybe it was King Kong’s brother.
As they exited the stage after an exceptional set, the whole basement dripping with sweat, the crowd were hungry for more cheering until they came back on stage. Geese had already taken us on an epic journey through every crevice of the human condition; from darkness into light, intensity to joy, art-punk to free jazz, Americana to funk, blues to acid rock, grunge to psychedelia using every ounce of energy in their incendiary, kinetic performance and yet they still had the energy to treat us to a propulsive ‘ 3D Country ‘ encore complete with an extended frenetic musical jam. It felt like a real privilege to see them in such a small venue. Their musical craftsmanship, stage presence and energy engulfed the room- there was hardly enough space for their growing flock of fans and when the word gets out they’ll be in full flight, filling festivals and stadiums before you know it. They are touring the UK now so go and see Geese while you can!
Upcoming tour dates.
08th London- Lafayette
10th Glasgow- King Tut’s
12th Leeds -Brudenell Social Club
13th Manchester- Band on the Wall
14th Nottingham- Bodega
Follow Geese here: Geese (geeseband.com)
Photo credit- Carmel Walsh