Words: Justin Hulford.
The Gaslight Anthem have come round very quickly and rather than supporting an album this mini tour seems to be so they can warm up the strings and shake off the jet lag before hitting the festival circuit.
It was down to fellow Americans The Scandals to start things off, a bit closer to old school punk and surprisingly (especially for a Gaslight support) the better side of okay. They were a straight up crash, bang and wallop sort of outfit, with loads of energy and not many hooks, but not bad at all. I wouldn’t necessarily seek them out but I wouldn’t avoid them either.
Unusually for the main act they had just that one support so it was quickly onto a yet another superb show. They kicked off with slow one, something they seem to be favouring and then just ripped through the best they have. Only a couple of songs, vague fillers off their last, failed to get a rapturous reception and all bar one of the big songs was present (Meet Me By The River’s Edge was missing if you were wondering!).
What is so impressive is that the band repeatedly set a very high bar and then do all they can to exceed it. Every track, whether fast or slow, is delivered with intensity and genuine passion and as time progresses there is a greater range and a richer variety to it all. This night was certainly no exception musically.
I still suspect songs from Get Hurt will be dropped as time continues as they are probably the least impressive. On this night Brian Fallon said they had filled a chunk of the set from Twitter requests but then revealed that they (or rather he as sole tweeter) rejected all the ones they didn’t want to play! As a result the long “request” section was rammed full of their biggest and absolute best.
Taking that and then sitting after last year’s aborted fans behind the scenes ticket they tried to sell, it seems they still might not quite have the connections sorted – too many years of revelling in being a cult outfit have clearly played their price! Fallon also followed up last year’s show with even more between songs banter and it’s another area he needs to work on, coming across as a little nerdy and vulnerable!
It’s just as well that they play so well and it’s a bit odd when you stack it against that music. They maybe need to continue just blasting away. Their songs are stuffed with hooks, anthems, sing-alongs and more, and need very little else to showcase themselves. The crowd loved this show, delighted in an extra song instead of a pointless encore and with the hottest day of the year outside (already surpassed!) it was certainly one of the hottest inside too.
If you are at a festival soon and see their name, do check them out.