Old Shoe and Goose Doctor, Ace Bar, Chicagi, IL – 5/2
Photo by Norman Sands
Over the past year during their weekly gigs at Ace Bar, Old Shoe has brought some of the best local jam talent from around the region to the cozy confines of Fullerton St, and made it accessible to those that love to do the hump day boogie.
The bill for the second to last installment of Old Shoe’s residency brought with it a decidedly nursery rhyme type feel. As I found out it was in name alone because right from the get go you could tell the lyrical content and musicianship were more complex than the average toddler could handle.
On this evening, Goose Doctor joined the bill. The DeKalb, IL-based band had their debut performance only a few months ago, although their members have known each other for years.
After opening with a fun little Indian themed tune called “Nabowah” that distorted nicely and showed off synthesized notes of both Pink Floyd and Umphrey’s McGee flavors, the band moved into a full spring time fervor on the rightfully titled “Born.” The song built on a groove propelled by Greg Iteen on bass and guitarists Tom Stach and Howard Shaw. As “Born” went into end jam mode, it built up power cord wah pedal infused progressions that seemed to pause and then start back up on the same measure. A slight jazz titled jaunt could be felt on the opening of “Specimen B” with Scott Paiser dropping in a nice solo on keys.
There is a lot to take in on each song Goose Doctor plays. Composition-wise they deftly change tempo and timing to give the listener an experience that really pulls together a wide array of sounds. Tom Stach on guitar, crafted a progressive rock gem on “Robot Sounds.” Listening closely to the lyrics one detected influences ranging from Beck to Bowie but with a jam twist. It was quite groovy and refreshing. Spacey cosmic fills led wonderfully into each verse as the Doctor transitioned into “Caught in the Mud” followed by with an epic and spirited “King Keenan.”
It will be interesting to watch the music of Goose Doctor grow. The band has the chops to dabble in some unique areas of the jam genre. I was very glad I got to see this act in its infancy as surely they’ll begin to become more cohesive as the gigs start to add up.
As for Old Shoe, I’ve been to just about every Wednesday since the inception and can attest that the group has grown in leaps and bounds. Joe Day, Matt Robinson and Paul Priest share vocals and draw on a solid repertoire of original material. On this night Old Shoe pulled two new songs out during the first set in “Mouth of the Lion” and “Michigan,” the latter of which transitioned into the Grateful Dead cover “Eyes of the World.” “Let Yourself In,” the title track of the group’s second album roused the late evening leaners and hoopers before “Beer” sent non subliminal messages to tip your local bartender. Robinson belted “Ragweed Jones,” which bounced nicely into a cover of Jerry Reed’s “Eastbound and Down.” Paul Priest then sang the 60s flashback-induced “The Most Difficult Thing Love” before the band covered Phish’s “Twist.” Day’s instrumental, “Joe’s Song” then followed before a fine closing take on “Woodstock.”
Old Shoe will be taking a well deserved rest for the weeks to come as they gear up to work on new material and prepare for the summer festival season right around the corner.