Geese on ‘3D Country,’ Biggest New York Concert and Not ‘Saving’ Rock

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On a cold November Saturday night, hordes of mulleted and mustachioed Brooklynites line up outside Warsaw, the Greenpoint Polish cultural center turned punk club, waiting to see indie rock band Geese. On a wall opposite the box office, a sign warns: “No Moshing.” That rule is broken not 20 minutes into the set, when the band unleashes the smoldering guitar riffs of “2122,” a shape-shifting blues-rock romp flecked with nonsense lyrics, banjo plucking and Elvis impersonations.

“Voodoo Balarama Baba Yaga, I’m taking my love to the outside!” Cameron Winter yowls a cappella, with a delivery that would do Jon Spencer proud, before a distorted guitar spirals over pattering drums. It all somehow … works?

That’s because Geese grasps a fundamental aspect of rock ’n’ roll that seems lately to have been neglected: It’s supposed to be fun

“We take the band pretty seriously,” Winter assures Variety a few days after the show, “but amongst each other, it’s hard for us to be entirely serious about the songs when we’re on stage.”

Case in point: at an intimate album release party in June, Geese trolled the New York audience by performing their biggest song, the boozy retro jam “Cowboy Nudes,” in the languid style of Morrissey. “The first verse and chorus were funny,” Winter admits, “but I saw people’s expressions sour as they were like, ‘Wow, he’s really going to stretch this out for the whole length of the song.’”

So, at Warsaw, Geese played “Cowboy Nudes” in the style of Geese. The concert was a homecoming for the 21-year-old rockers, who performed their rollicking sophomore album, “3D Country,” at their biggest New York show to date. Selling out an 1,100-capacity venue in their hometown felt extra sweet for Geese, who formed in high school and planned to break up and go to college after graduating in 2020. 

“The expectation was that nothing would come of the band,” says Winter. But then their lo-fi demos started gaining traction online, which led to a deal with indie label Partisan Records. Soon, they were recording their 2021 debut album, “Projector,” in drummer Max Bassin’s basement. 

“We just wanted to be treated as not some random fucking Bandcamp fodder,” Winter says. “We wanted to be a ‘real band.’ We wanted to press 500 copies and sell it to some tiny label. That was as far as our imagination could take us.”

For “3D Country,” Geese flocked to the studio, expanding their sonic palette with Arctic Monkeys and Depeche Mode producer James Ford, and embarked on a world tour. Still, Winter is intent on maintaining the band’s DIY spirit. “The poisonous thing about turning your band into a business is the expectations get way bigger,” he says. “And just because the expectations get bigger doesn’t mean your enjoyment is bigger.”

The frontman is also bitingly aware of how music blogs and magazines play a role in manufacturing false expectations.

“With the first record, it was like, ‘Will Geese save rock ’n’ roll?’” he recalls acidly. “It was fine, but it did not save shit. It didn’t even save the fucking rock ’n’ roll niche it was in.”

And so what? With the fledgling band gearing up to play arenas in 2024 in support of Greta Van Fleet, saving rock ’n’ roll can wait.

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