Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Concert Review: From Good Homes - December 17, 2016

From Good Homes returned for their annual December shows in Northern New Jersey on December 16th and 17th. I had the pleasure of attending the second night of their great performances. The venue for this year’s shows was once again the intimate Newton Theater in Newton, New Jersey. If you are a looking for a cozy place to see a live concert, I highly recommend checking out this venue. It was my second time there (both for From Good Homes concerts) and I like the quaint setting a lot.

One year removed from the last time I saw them, From Good Homes delivered a completely different concert that I was not prepared for. It was filled with music I’ve never seen them perform live, debuts, exceptional covers, and a song I didn’t even know was their original. And while I wanted to hear comfortable favorites like “Comin’ On Home,” “Maybe We Will,” and “Broken Road” I got to hear untapped classics like “Go Wild,” “Way Down Inside,” and “It’s Getting Dirty.” Hearing these songs instead of the beloved classics I wanted only made me love this band more as it showed me what a grand spectrum of songs they have in their musical arsenal.

The band came to the stage promptly just after 8pm for the first of their two sets and the sold out crowd gave a huge roar of approval. As the announcer stated in the introduction of the band, these are our hometown heroes. And every year when I see them live, I wish they could have stayed together and continued making new music. The band walked out and opened with “The Old Man & The Land” from Hick Pop Comin’ At Ya, their debut album. It was a nice mellow opener that eased the crowd into the evening. This was followed by “Suzanna Walker,” a song I always forget how much I love until I hear it. The night took off from there.

Three songs from the self titled album were played next. During “Butterfly & the Tree,” From Good Homes broke into a cover of “Little Red Corvette” paying their tribute to fallen superstar Prince. It was an exceptional cover of an amazing musician done in the proper From Good Homes style. The crowd loved it and the band was clearly having a great time playing it live.

The first set ended with a couple of big surprises. The first was a cover of a song from Brady Rymer’s other band, which has been nominated for a Grammy award for the third time (he has yet to win it, but they are hopeful that this is the year). From Good Homes covered “One Day by the Riverside” from Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could, much to the delight of the crowd. It was a country tinged, fun folk song that I liked hearing live. It was an unexpected surprise treat but it was nothing compared to what was about to follow.

The last song of set one was also the biggest surprise of the night. The band pulled out a song so rare and so classic that I didn’t even realize it was one of theirs. “It’s Getting Dirty” was the set one closer and it was a beauty! I had never heard the song before (it’s not on any of the band’s official releases) and I was just amazed. I thought the band broke out an awesome cover of a song I didn’t know, but learned later (after doing some home research) that it was a From Good Homes original. That left me scratching my head in wonder…why hadn’t the band ever released this song? It could be the best song they have. The jam at the end was spectacular and really left me thirsting for more. Fortunately for me, there was another set to sit through.

Set two started with the classic staple “Radio On,” and then was promptly followed with more surprises. “Parachute,” “Safer Ground,” and “Go Wild” were played next and all are songs that I have never heard the band perform live. They were all great songs, with “Go Wild” being my favorite of the bunch, if for no other reason than the quirkiness of the song. If From Good Homes were to go back into the studio and record all of these unreleased songs for a new disc, I guarantee it would sell well. They are all quality songs that are too good to not be recorded in a proper studio setting for fan consumption.

“Way Down Inside” was next and it’s another song that I forget how great it is until I hear it live. “Way Down Inside” is definitely the darkest song From Good Homes has, but it is a brilliant tune. I was glad to have heard it live and it served as a reminder that I need to play Open Up The Sky in its entirety more often than I do.

After a great one-two punch of “I’m A Mess” and “Second Red Barn On The Right,” both with incredible jams, and a quick “Boulevard of Dreams,” another song I have never heard live, my favorite From Good Homes song was performed. It was an early Christmas present to me. “I Only Want” is the best song From Good Homes has ever recorded. I can listen to that song over and over and over again and not grow tired of it. There is so much going on in that song. I love the saxophone solo in the middle and the long, drawn out jam the song inspires. The live version at the Newton Theater was fantastic and it made the night for me.

The second set ended with “Charlie Hogan,” a fun song about a fan, and then it was time for the encore. The band made some odd choices for the encore. They did an unknown instrumental called “Jamie’s Song” and followed that with a cover of Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released.” I was surprised by the encore choices, as I expected something more upbeat to end the evening. The last song of the night was a brilliant rendition of “Raindance” and then it was all over. Another show with From Good Homes had come to a close.

The show served as a great reminder of how magnificent a band From Good Homes is. I really wish they would go back into the studio and give us one last record. Even if it was just studio recordings of these unreleased tracks they play live, it would be well worth it to the fans. And of course if the band comes back again in 2018 I fully expect that I will be going to see them in concert once again.

Set One
Old Man & The Land
Suzanna Walker
The Giving Tree
House On A Hill
Butterfly & the Tree>>>Little Red Corvette>>>Butterfly & the Tree
I’m Your Man
The Decision Song
Dance a Hole
One Day by the Riverside (Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could cover)
It’s Getting Dirty
Set Two
Radio On
Safer Ground
Go Wild
Way Down Inside
I’m A Mess
Second Red Barn On The Right
Boulevard of Dreams
I Only Want
Charlie Hogan
Jamie’s Song
I Shall Be Released (Bob Dylan Cover)

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