On Saturday night, Anthony Green and his powerhouse of a band celebrated 10 years of Avalon at The TLA, along with Good Old War and new project Found Wild. For anyone who knows the closeness that Green, Keith Goodwin, Dan Schwartz, Tim Arnold, and Circa Survive member Brendan Ekstrom share, then you know that this tour is truly special. Though these guys frequently back Green on his solo ventures, Avalon is pivotal. It marks the beginning of an incredible decade of music and friendship that followed, and it showed onstage.
Found Wild is new to the scene, though its members Keith Goodwin and Tim Arnold (of Good Old War, and Green’s band) are not. They opened the night, and played several never-heard songs from their upcoming debut release, due out this summer. Arnold is front and center in this project, and we’re all so used to him sitting back on percussion, so to see him dominate lead vocals, pick up a guitar, and absolutely kill it on the piano blew me away. I think that’s what sets Found Wild apart – this is clearly Arnold’s outlet, and while he absolutely thrives as Good Old War’s drummer, there’s something new and groundbreaking here.
Act two featured Good Old War, who also celebrated a decade of their first album, Only Way To Be Alone, and let me tell you, I will never ever get tired of that magnificent guitar introduction in “Looking For Shelter.” Never. There are few albums that I know every word to, but this is one of them. It has been for years, and I could tell that everyone in the room shared the same amount of love for this special collection of songs. Defining moment: Anthony Green joining the stage to sing his verse in “Weak Man.” Finally! I’ve been waiting years to see that moment live. It left me breathless, like I knew it would. There’s really nothing like it when a band plays the entirety of an album front to back, the way they intended it to be heard. Good Old War knows how to do that, and they do it well. Ending with “Stay By My Side,” (obviously), left the crowd in silence as Arnold, Goodwin, and Schwartz all put down their instruments to finish out the set with one last verse a capella. I mentioned chills, right?
Finally, the heart-stopping moment everyone in the room was waiting for… everybody took the stage one last time for Avalon. While I was really hoping there would be some last minute switch in the setlist and “Dear Child”‘s timeless, echoing guitar riff would be the opener to the set, Green eagerly picked up his guitar and strummed out the first few subtle chords to “She Loves Me So.” While it was a soft intro, I knew it would pick up any moment. Green really loves to give us his famous scream any chance he can, and we were here for it. There were two songs I was really anxious for, “Dear Child” and “Babygirl,” and from the moment the band played those two tracks to the moment they ended, I was totally in awe. It’s honestly the most cathartic feeling to watch an artist you love play a song that you love with as much emotion on their faces as there is crashing in your chest because it suddenly becomes something you share. I hope he knows how important this show was to so many people in that crowd. It was endless fun and I could feel all of his nostalgia as he talked about writing “The First Day Of Work At The Microscope Store” in his college dorm room forever ago. The way he communicates his every feeling about this album back to the crowd is incredible.
If you have a chance to catch this tour, you should take it. It’s about more than the milestone of a decade. This tour is about love and nostalgia and connection, experienced firsthand by such an incredible group of people. Philly is proud to call all of these musicians our own.